SS1.01 Assessing Potential Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 4:00:00 PM
Location: Lecture Theatre
 
BultTP, Centre for Shellfish Research - Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research, Yerseke, Netherlands, t.bult@rivo.wag-ur.nl
 
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF MUSSEL CULTURE IN THE DUTCH WADDEN SEA: POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITATIONS FOR EVALUATION AND MANAGEMENT
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The Wadden Sea is a unique nature area that is of vital importance to the Dutch mussel industry. In 2003 the Dutch Government will decide on the future of the shellfish industry in this area. From this, discussions focus on the impact of this industry on food availability for birds, especially eider ducks and oystercatchers, and important habitats including mussel and eelgrass beds. The Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research is responsible for assessments of commercial shellfish stocks. The Government and the shellfish industry use this information for management policies and business plans. Research focuses on the effects of these policies. The dynamic nature of the Wadden ecosystem proves to be a challenge for both birds, cockle fishers and mussel farmers, as they often have to face periods of low shellfish availability. This dynamic nature also proves to be a challenge for scientists interested in understanding the effects of the shellfish industry on birds and habitats. An outline will be presented of the discussions that surround this subject matter. Strengths and weaknesses of the assessments are discussed with recommendations for improvement.