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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

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; Orlova, Marina; Skov, Henrik; Rissanen, Juoko; Šiaulys, Andrius; Vidakovic, Aleksandar; Virtanen, Elvira
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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

Authors' information

Kotta, Jonne
University of Tartu
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Kaasik, Ants
University of Tartu
Liversage, Kiran
University of Tartu
Rätsep, Merli
University of Tartu
Barboza, Francisco R.
GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Bergström, Per
University of Gothenburg
Bobsien, Ivo
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Díaz, Eliecer
Novia University of Applied Sciences
Herkül, Kristjan
University of Tartu
Jonsson, Per R.
University of Gothenburg
Korpinen, Samuli
Finnish Environment Institute
Novia University of Applied Sciences
Krost, Peter
Coastal Research and Management
Lindahl, Odd
Musselfeed AB
Lindegarth, Mats
University of Gothenburg
Moltke Lyngsgaard, Maren
Mühl, Martina
Coastal Research and Management
Nyström Sandman, Antonia
AquaBiota Water Research
Orav-Kotta, Helen
University of Tartu
Orlova, Marina
Russian Academy of Sciences
Skov, Henrik
DHI Water Environment Health
Rissanen, Juoko
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Šiaulys, Andrius
Klaipeda University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Virtanen, Elvira
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
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Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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