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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Cleaning up seas using blue growth initiatives: Mussel farming for eutrophication control in the Baltic Sea

Kotta, Jonne; Futter, Martyn; Kaasik, Ants; Liversage, Kiran; Rätsep, Merli; Barboza, Francisco R.; Bergström, Lena; Bobsien, Ivo; Díaz, Eliecer; Herkül, Kristjan; Jonsson, Per R.; Korpinen, Samuli; Kraufvelin, Patrik; Krost, Peter; Lindahl, Odd; Lindegarth, Mats; Moltke Lyngsgaard, Maren; Mühl, Martina; Nyström Sandman, Antonia; Orav-Kotta, Helen;
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Eutrophication is a serious threat to aquatic ecosystems globally with pronounced negative effects in the Baltic and other semi-enclosed estuaries and regional seas, where algal growth associated with excess nutrients causes widespread oxygen free "dead zones" and other threats to sustainability. Decades of policy initiatives to reduce external (land-based and atmospheric) nutrient loads have so far failed to control Baltic Sea eutrophication, which is compounded by significant internal release of legacy phosphorus (P) and biological nitrogen (N) fixation. Farming and harvesting of the native mussel species (Mytilus edulis/trossulus) is a promising internal measure for eutrophication control in the brackish Baltic Sea. Mussels from the more saline outer Baltic had higherNand P content than those fromeither the inner or central Baltic. Despite their relatively lownutrient content, harvesting farmed mussels from the central Baltic can be a cost-effective complement to land-based measures needed to reach eutrophication status targets and is an important contributor to circularity. Cost effectiveness of nutrient removal is more dependent on farm type than mussel nutrient content, suggesting the need for additional development of farm technology. Furthermore, current regulations are not sufficiently conducive to implementation of internal measures, and may constitute a bottleneck for reaching eutrophication status targets in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Aquaculture; Blue growth; Eutrophication control; Internal measures; Mussel farming; Baltic Sea

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2020, Volume: 709, article number: 136144