beach with wrack

Natural growth potential of algae in Estonian maritime spatial plan

Aquaculture: fish, seaweed and shellfish farms in Estonian maritime spatial plan.

Aquaculture is an area of the blue economy with great potential, the development of which strengthens the competitiveness of the economy and helps to improve the environmental conditions of the sea.

Aquaculture or the farming of fish, shellfish, crayfish and water plants (e.g.  seaweed) is one of the fastest growing blue economy sectors in the world. Thus far, only fish has been farmed in Estonia and this has been mainly done in inland waters and closed fish farming systems, but the technologies for offshore farming are currently in development.

Red algae and edible shellfish farming attempts have already been made in the Väinameri sea, Gulf of Riga and open sea areas of the Baltic Sea; hopes are set on finding the production technology suitable for the Estonian conditions. In seaweed farming, the first pilot projects have been launched to develop farming technologies. The development of shellfish farming has been initiated by the private sector. In other countries around the Baltic Sea, seaweed and shellfish farming has shown great potential in reducing the eutrophication of the marine environment.

To identify suitable areas for the aquaculture of invertebrates and seaweeds, and the growth potential of shellfish, the best information available was used concerning the physicochemical characteristics of the examined marine area, the biota and habitats of the seabed. In specifying the areas suitable for aquaculture, the maps of modelled growth potential of the most important invertebrates and macroalgae in aquaculture were used as input.

According to the basic research of the MSP, the areas suitable for shellfish farming are mostly located in marine areas west of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Seaweed farming is also viable in the western part of Väinameri sea and Gulf of Finland. The maps were made with support from the project “Compiling regional aquaculture plans to manage possible environmental pressures” of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Source: ESTONIAN MARITIME SPATIAL PLAN.

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Status 08.04.2020.

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