The new fishing quotas will reduce total catch and shrink the Belgian fishing fleet. Alternative production methods, such as offshore mollusc culture, could provide employment and income to the fishing industry. In Ireland, a major part of the coastal fisheries has successfully been re-oriented towards growing shellfish, particularly rope culture of blue mussels. Offshore shellfish culture may help to establish typical regional products and to diversify the offer of fishery and aquaculture products on the market. Mariculture thus could give a new push to the economic activities in the Belgian coastal area, with spin-offs in the fields of processing, distribution, retail and tourism. As part of the planned allocation of "zones for specific uses" on the Belgian Continental Shelf (e.g. marine protected areas, zones preserved for sand and gravel extraction, wind plants, etc.), it is necessary to identify the most suitable shellfish production areas. ILVO-Fisheries will investigate a number of key parameters in the coastal waters (current patterns and speeds, settlement of mussel post-larvae, the occurrence of phytoplankton blooms, anthropogenic contaminants, pathogenic bacteria, etc.), to identify candidate shellfish culture areas. ILVO-Fisheries researches new species (diversification), provides scientific advice to shellfish producers, and trains specialised staff to monitor toxic phytoplankton and biotoxins in the production areas.
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web