Mussels, oysters and other shellfish

Due to the growing world population, the demand for sustainably produced protein is increasing. Shellfish are at the lower end of the food chain and their growth has limited climate impact, which makes them well suited for this purpose. In addition, shellfish play a crucial role in the ecosystem, for example as food for birds and as a habitat for a large number of plant and animal species. Shellfish also provide other ecosystem services, such as maintaining water quality and contributing to coastal defences as 'biobuilders'. Wageningen University & Research monitors shellfish stocks in Dutch waters, tests food safety and advises on shellfish cultivation in coastal areas and offshore, also in relation to offshore wind farms and nature development.

When it comes to shellfish, there are issues surrounding exploitation and nature (policy). Shellfish are fished and farmed in the waters of the Oosterschelde, Lake Grevelingen and Wadden Sea. We carry out our research for and together with the shellfish sector, the Ministry of LNV and I&W, the European Commission and nature conservation organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund. Shellfish fishery is dependent on the size and quality of fishable stocks. Social support (licence to produce) for the fishery is also essential.

Shellfish: Q&A

Which shellfish live in Dutch waters?

How sustainable and environmentally friendly is shellfish farming?

How are mussels, oysters and cockles grown or caught?

How important are shellfish for nature restoration?

How are mussel and oyster beds used for coastal defence?

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What is the effect of climate change on shellfish?

What are the risks to food safety?

Can you identify and/or eliminate diseases in shellfish?

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