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Mussel culture in a changing environment: the effects of a coastal engineering project on mussel culture (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Oosterschelde estuary (SW Netherlands)
van Stralen, M.R.; Dijkema, R.D. (1994). Mussel culture in a changing environment: the effects of a coastal engineering project on mussel culture (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Oosterschelde estuary (SW Netherlands), in: Nienhuis, P.H. et al. (Ed.) The Oosterschelde Estuary (The Netherlands): a case-study of a changing ecosystem. Hydrobiologia, 97: pp. 359-379
In: Nienhuis, P.H.; Smaal, A.C. (Ed.) (1994). The Oosterschelde Estuary (The Netherlands): a case-study of a changing ecosystem. Reprinted from Hydrobiologia, vols 282/283. Hydrobiologia, 97. Kluwer Academic: Dordrecht. 597 pp., more
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • van Stralen, M.R.; Dijkema, R.D. (1994). Mussel culture in a changing environment: the effects of a coastal engineering project on mussel culture (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Oosterschelde estuary (SW Netherlands). Hydrobiologia 282-283: 359-379, more

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Carrying capacity; Food; Food availability; Growth; Hydrodynamics; Mussel culture; Mussels; Mussels; Rates; Rates; Rates; Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • van Stralen, M.R., more
  • Dijkema, R.D.

Abstract
    To evaluate the effects of a large scale coastal engineering project on the mussel (Mytilus edulis) bottom culture in the Oosterscheide estuary (S.W. Netherlands), mussel growth and production in the period 1980-1990 are studied in relation to food supply and the hydrodynamic conditions. Due to the construction of a storm-surge barrier and two additional dams, the risk that mussels are swept away by high current velocities decreased, resulting in an increase of the area in the Oosterschelde potentially suitable for mussel culture and in food availability now being more important as a limiting factor. For the Oosterschelde, a clear relation between mussel growth, stock sizes, and phytoplankton dynamics has been demonstrated. The meat yield of mussels landed in autumn - which is an index for growth rate - seems to be determined by the phytoplankton production in the preceding summer. In years with dense bivalve stocks, phytoplankton production and meat yields are relatively low. It is concluded that an increase of the mussel biomass cultured can result in a reduction of the primary production and, consequently, in a deterioration of the growing conditions for suspension-feeders in the estuary. This conclusion is supported by model calculations. An expansion of mussel culture in the new Oosterschelde is therefore dissuaded. Apart from primary production and stock sizes, food supply for mussels on culture lots appeared to be controlled by the horizontal advection of phytoplankton between and within the tidal channels. An observed decline in mussel landings from certain areas is attributed to the reduced mixing energy of the estuary in relation to the present distribution of the lots over the estuary. Production figures from the experimental lots, established in 1988 in the newly available areas, demonstrate that the yield of mussels can be enhanced by relaying culture lots towards the areas where the phytoplankton is produced. It is expected that by redistributing the culture lots, without expanding the biomass cultured, the carrying capacity of the Oosterschelde for mussel culture can be maintained.

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