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Ecological engineering for the optimisation of the land-based marine aquaculture of coastal shellfish
Philippart, C.J.M.; Dethmers, K.E.M.; van der Molen, J.; Seinen, A. (2020). Ecological engineering for the optimisation of the land-based marine aquaculture of coastal shellfish. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(19): 7224. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197224
In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. MDPI AG: Basel. ISSN 1660-4601, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Cerastoderma edule; survival; growth; phytoplankton; microphytobenthos; median grain size; silt content; flushing rates

Auteurs  Top 
  • Philippart, C.J.M., meer
  • Dethmers, K.E.M., meer
  • van der Molen, J., meer
  • Seinen, A.

Abstract
    Whilst the demand for nutritious and sustainable seafood is increasing, fishing yields are declining due to overfishing and climate change. The inshore aquaculture of marine molluscs—e.g., the suspension-feeding cockle Cerastoderma edule for NW Europe—might be an alternative practice if cost-effective and nature-based technology enhances growth and survival. Our inshore experiments revealed that increasing the seawater residence time resulted in improved water quality. The reduction in sediment loads and stimulation of pelagic microalgal growth resulted in enhanced shell growth and meat content of the wild cockles seeded into the system. Shorter residence times resulted also in an increase in benthic microalgae, but the concurrent increase in silt content of the sediment appeared to hamper effective filtration by cockles. The growth conditions (with respect to the water and sediment quality) for the inshore cultivation of cockles can indeed be improved by means of ecological engineering, suggesting that the inshore aquaculture of marine shellfish can provide sustainable food and income for coastal communities, in particular when the shellfish farms are located in low-lying salinized coastal areas where common agriculture practices are no longer profitable. The involvement of the shellfishery industry was and will be crucial for studying and understanding the complex practice of cockle cultivation.

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