Value@Sea: A NEW INITIATIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE CULTURE OF SHELLFISH AND SEAWEED
Daan Delbare1 and Willy Versluys2
1 Head Department Aquaculture, Ilvo (Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research), Oostende, Belgium
2 CEO Brevisco, Oostende, Belgium
During the Belle Epoque period, from 1849 till 1939, Belgium was one of the main producers of oysters in Europe and beyond. In this period flat oysters were imported from the natural oyster beds around the UK for fattening in the brackish waters along the Belgian coast. But both World Wars and an outbreak of an unidentified disease in the UK made an end to the famous Belgian oyster production, e. g. the Ostendaises, to the advantage of the Netherlands and France. Oyster production was initiated again after the WWII, but never grew back to its past glory. Nowadays, only one Belgian oyster producer is still active, importing flat and cupped oysters for further affinage in the Ostend sluice basin otherwise known as "de Spuikom".
The project Value@Sea will investigate the possibilities for sustainable mariculture in the Belgian part of the North Sea, with the integration of shellfish species (Ostrea edulis and Pecten maximus) and seaweed. The seaweed is cultured on newly developed geotextiles, while the shellfish are farmed on longline systems (cfr. French method and in fortified lantern nets).