Since it is considered as a quality protein source, seafood is one of the leading groups in the world, from China to India, from the UAE to the Mediterranean, from Spain to the USA and Canada. Regardless of the purpose, aquaculture itself will have an important place in the future of the world and is among the promising works.

Shellfish operations is a new field that is gaining as much attention as that of finfish. Bivalves, which have a very wide working area in themselves, are also used in marine research and restorations, as well as being a very valuable food for human consumption.

9 of 10 mussels consumed in the European Union comes from aquaculture. [link]

This product group has a serious market in Europe. Speaking for human consumption, the abundant, rapid and economical production of some species such as blue (common) mussel (Mytilus edulis) and clam looks very profitable in the medium-long term. Shellfish aquaculture, which can be implemented with different production methods according to the area and production budget, can find buyers in the countries of the near and far west.

An online publication titled "New Horizons in Fisheries - 001: Algae" published on the website in 2019 contains useful information about the consumption of Mediterranean mussels in Europe. Among this information, the detail that 9 out of every 10 mussels consumed within the borders of the European Union comes from aquaculture.

We can mention some advantages of shellfish farming over other aquaculture operations. These topics can be listed as;

  • lower facility planning cost
  • lower operating cost
  • relatively less waste
  • less feed costs
  • less security measures compared to other facilities
  • greater susceptibility to polyculture
  • more ethical cultivation
  • a more sustainable aquaculture operation
  • flexible use for different targets

If another item comes to your mind, do not hesitate to leave a message in the comment field.

Besides, there are some arguments that mussel farming is more ethical than other aquaculture operations. The topics that support the evaluation of shellfish farming in this context are as follows:

  • No need to vouch for other crops to feed
  • Contributing to the feed of local peoples
  • No special environmental conditions are required for its cultivation
  • They do not suffer any pain in breeding conditions

Why are those from aquaculture the most reliable shellfish?

Speaking of shellfish, mussels, clams and oysters, the most well-known and high-consumption shellfish, these products are slightly more likely to be directly contaminated than other crops because of where they live in the water column. Bivalves, which live on the ground, in the sand or near the ground by fixing themselves to a place and feed by filtering the water passing between their two shells instead of actively feeding, are naturally affected by the chemical composition of the water in which they live. For example, when we look at the contents of the shellfish collected from the bay, which has an industrial port with a wide hinterland, it is more likely that heavy metals will be found above the expected amount. To give another example, a change in the composition of phytoplankton, which is one of the natural foods of the shellfish and living in the water where the shellfish lives, will also directly affect the content of the crop to be collected for human consumption.

Use of shellfish in ecological service

Ecological servants are components that transform existing natural resources into other forms beneficial to nature. Speaking of territory, it's a good example of how bacteria and some fungi transform using sunlight, carbon, and nitrogen. 

Nitrogen is an indispensable nutrient for phytoplankton in the water, but eutrophication and excess waste due to eutrophication that occurs in excess of nitrogen can radically change the balance in the water, and this is a very risky situation for the living things in the water body where the event takes place. When it comes to the sea, bivalves perform an ecological mission similar to that of bacteria in the territory. Bivalves are considered the best choice in nature to restore and maintain the balance of waters with increased nitrogen content by mixing large amounts of domestic waste and agricultural waste such as manure. It collects phytoplankton that multiply in nitrogen-enriched water and absorbes nitrogen into its food. Another ecological service task carried out by sheelfish is the removal of excess heavy metals observed on the California coast in the United States. 

As supported by some examples, it has the potential to offer a versatile field of study in aquaculture, and its versatile uses are at least as wide as the sea itself, open to research and discussion.

Perhaps the question we must ask ourselves to find the answer is how we can benefit from shellfish and use them effectively for our environment and our world.

See you in the next article of qualified career advice in the aquaculture industry.

Main photo: Rachel Claire @ Pexels