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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The economic value of mussel farming for uncertain nutrient removal in the Baltic Sea

Gren, Ing-Marie


Mussel farming has been recognised as a low cost option for mitigating damage caused by eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. However, uncertain nutrient removal owing to weather and environmental conditions at the mussel farm site has not been previously considered. The purpose of this study was to estimate whether mussel farming has cost advantages even in conditions of uncertainty. To this end, the replacement cost method was used for the valuation of ecosystem services and a numerical cost minimisation model was constructed based on the safety-first approach to account for uncertainty in nutrient removal. This study showed that the value of mussel farming depends on the cost at the farm, and the impact on the mean and variability of nutrient removal in relation to other abatement measures. The study also pointed out the need of data on the decision makers' risk attitudes and measurement of uncertainty. The application to the Baltic Sea showed that the total value of mussel farming increased from 0.34 billion Euro/year to 0.41 or 1.21 billion Euro when accounting for uncertainty depending on assumption of probability distribution. The increase was unevenly distributed between the Baltic Sea countries, with it found to be lower for countries equipped with highly productive mussel farms and long coastlines.

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2019, Volume: 14, number: 6, article number: e0218023

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
    SDG14 Life below water

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