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A Delicacy: Mussels from an Offshore Wind Farm

In Belgium, the first mussels from an offshore wind farm were served as part of a research project in the North Sea. The bottom line: Delicious!

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

As part of the research project 'North Sea aquaculture', the first mussels from an integrated farm have now been harvested. The project involves a number of researchers and companies working together to test the growth and cultivation of aquacultures off the Belgian coast. It now appears that the result is particularly good Belgian mussels.

At 36% to 39%, these Belgian mussels have a higher meat content than other common mussels and are particularly tasty according to the taste-and-use tests carried out by the Colruyt Group. Nancy Nevejan from the UGent Laboratory for Aquaculture & ARC adds: "In addition, what is noticeable is that these mussels grow particularly quickly. Over 12 months, they reached full size, while the Zeeland soil mussels need 18-20 months to reach maturity".

In the next two years, the project is to develop the concept of a 'sea farm': Wind energy is produced above the waterline, mussels below. This seems to work particularly well, as the aquacultures in the wind farms are not disturbed - ship traffic within the wind farms is prohibited. Nevertheless, the relevant area must first be designated as a shellfish farming area in the spatial development plan - but politics support the project, which is why the approval should not be a problem.

Philippe De Backer, Secretary Of State for the North Sea, is delighted: "Our national dish is mussels with fries. I’m very pleased to see that within some time, we will be able to serve true Belgian mussels. I believe that our North Sea has the ability to become a true sea farm on the long term, which will be a breeding base for not only mussels but also oysters and seaweeds. As Secretary Of State, I want to put further focus on this. That is why I have foreseen extra space within the Marine Spatial Plan to offer all opportunities to these innovative projects. We need to be a trendsetter in Europe in this matter as well."

Wannes Voorend, biotechnologist at the Colruyt Group, is also convinced by this idea: "The next generation of wind farms will also be producing food in addition to energy."

Windfair Staff
Belgium, wind farm, offshore, North Sea, sea food, mussels, aquacultures, research project, sea farm

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