|The Belgian mollusk fisheries|
|Redant, F. (1997). The Belgian mollusk fisheries, in: MacKenzie Jr., C.L. et al. (Ed.) (1997). The history, present condition and future of the molluscan fisheries of North and Central America and Europe Volume 3, Europe. NOAA Technical Report NMFS, 129: pp. 101-114|
|In: MacKenzie Jr., C.L. et al. (Ed.) (1997). The history, present condition and future of the molluscan fisheries of North and Central America and Europe Volume 3, Europe. NOAA Technical Report NMFS, 129. US Department of Commerce: Seattle, WA (USA). 240 pp., meer|
|In: NOAA Technical Report NMFS. NOAA: Seattle. ISSN 0892-8908, meer|
Bivalves and gastropods landed in Belgium are taken as a by-catch of fisheries targeting finfish or crustaceans, and the nation has never had specialized molluscan fisheries. Species landed consist mainly of whelk, Buccinum undatum; and scallops, Pecten maximus and Chlamys spp. Long-term trends in the landings of mollusks are closely related to long-term changes in fleet and vessel size, gear types used, fishing grounds and target species, and demand on the local market. In the 1950' s, the annual landings of whelk fluctuated between 80 and 200 t, while those of scallop were insubstantial. Since then, the landings gradually rose to record figures of 678 t for whelk and 762 t for scallop in the mid-1970's. Most recently, there has, however, been a substantial drop in the landings of both species. Provisional figures for 1991 and 1992 revealed an almost 50% decrease in landings for whelk, and 80% decrease for scallop. Documented history on mollusk trade and consumption in the area nowadays called Belgium goes back to the early days of the Roman occupation. A regional seafood specialty in Belgium is "moules frites" (blue mussels, steam boiled with a mixture of vegetables, and served with French fries). In 1990, over 30,000 t of mussels were consumed, all of which were imported, mostly from the Netherlands. Whelk is eaten locally, but other mollusk species, such as scallops, venerids, and cardiids, were not eaten to any extent until recent decades. Mollusks, as a whole, contribute about one-fifth to the nation's per capita consumption of finfish and shellfish.