Ghent University and the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Instituut voor Landbouw- en Visserijonderzoek; ILVO) are partnering with the Belwind and C-Power wind farms in a collaboration also involving the companies Brevisco, Colruyt Group, DEME Group, Lobster Fish and Sioen Industries. Their ground-breaking scientific study on shellfish and seaweed cultivation is adopting a uniquely integrated approach to investigating the efficient use of space in the Belgian part of the North Sea, innovative cultivation techniques and the market potential of these new regional products.
Using Flemish, European and local resources, an ambitious test project has been initiated at various locations in the North Sea. Opportunities for mussel cultivation are being researched, specifically for the Belgian wind farms.
In 2 years’ time we will have greater clarity on:
- The biological, technical and economic feasibility of shellfish and seaweed cultivation in the Belgian part of the North Sea.
- Potential synergies with existing wind-farm activities.
- Profitable ways to market the end product.
- The impact of aquaculture on water quality in the North Sea.
The first mussel cultivation system was installed in the C-Power wind farm in early May 2017. Mussel growth will be tracked initially at this site. The second mussel cultivation line will be situated at Belwind. The forces exerted by the ocean on the cultivation line will be measured here.
This project is the outcome of many years of intensive collaboration between academia and the business community. As long as alternative activities such as aquaculture do not undermine safety or electricity production in offshore wind farms, the sector welcomes multiple uses of space within its concessions.
Image: Jaak Rutten, CEO of C-Power and Chair of the Belgian Offshore Platform (BOP), with Eric Antoons, Co-CEO of Belwind, at the kick-off of ‘North Sea Aquaculture’.