Globally (blue) mussel farming and harvesting is normally pursued in order to produce food for human consumption. The demand is steadily increasing but the main production areas in Europe have reached a level where they can no longer expand due to shortage of suitable farm areas. Thus there is occasionally even a shortage of mussels on the market. Nevertheless seafood mussels cannot be expected to become a major product in the Baltic Sea, as the low salinity level slows down their growth and leads to only small sized mussels.
Mussel farming may, however, be an interesting option for the Baltic Sea Region as one of the few available operational, simple, flexible and cost-effective methods to counteract the negative effects of eutrophication caused by nutrient leakage from agricultural operations, sewage discharges and other human activities. Around 80% of the nutrients discharged into Baltic coastal waters come from diffuse emissions like run-off from forest – and farm land, atmospheric deposition and rural living and cannot be captured from point sources.