Harvest of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) is a new method for reducing phosphorous (P) and nitrogen (N) loads in the Baltic Sea Proper. Previous experiments in the Baltic Sea have indicated that the cultivation of blue mussels has potential to be a cost effective measure to reduce nutrient loads.
There is currently no commercial market for blue mussels from the Baltic Sea. However, mussel meal can be used as feed for poultry and fish. The aim is that mussels harvested in the Pilot Mussel will be delivered to a mussel meal processing facility, prospected in Sweden.
Pilot Mussel aims at compensating blue mussel farmers for the ecosystem services provided when harvesting mussels, and hence removing nutrients, from the sea.
The economic support provided through this tender for mussel harvesting will potentially stimulate the establishment of mussel farms in the Baltic Sea. A larger harvest would in turn promote the establishment of a market for mussels.
The environmental and economic effects of the pilot will be assessed as part of the pilot. One aspect is that the nutrient concentration in harvested mussels will be measured and analyzed.
If the pilot is successful there might be an interest from public bodies responsible for the environmental state of the Baltic Sea to investigate the possibilities to introduce an environmental support system for mussel farming.
A tender for mussel harvesting is organized by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and will result in contracts for mussel harvest with one or several mussel farmers located on the east coast of Sweden.
The tender is announced on January 14 via the following link: www.slu.se/musslor. Bids are invited from mussel farmers as well as other interested companies with related expertise. The tender closes February 23, after which the appointed bidders will be notified and contracts signed. The mussel farms will be installed in the spring 2016 in order for the mussel larvae to settle, which normally occurs in the month of May. The mussels should be harvested in the fall 2017.
A second tender is preliminary planned for January 2017, for which the mussel harvest should take place in the fall 2018.