The decline of mussel aquaculture in the European Union: causes, economic impacts and opportunities

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

  • Lamprakis Avdelas
  • Edo Avdic-Mravlje
  • Ana Cristina Borges Marques
  • Suzana Cano
  • Jacob J. Capelle
  • Natacha Carvalho
  • Maria Cozzolino
  • John Dennis
  • Tim Ellis
  • José M. Fernández Polanco
  • Jordi Guillen
  • Tobias Lasner
  • Véronique Le Bihan
  • Ignacio Llorente
  • Arie Mol
  • Simona Nicheva
  • Hans van Oostenbrugge
  • Sebastian Villasante
  • Svjetlana Visnic
  • Kolyo Zhelev
  • Frank Asche

In contrast to the increasing aquaculture production of mussels worldwide, production in the European Union (EU) has shown a decreasing trend over the last two decades. Aquaculture production of mussels in the EU peaked in the late 1990s at more than 600 000 tonnes; by 2016, production volume had dropped by 20% to 480 000 tonnes. As mussel production represents more than ⅓ of EU aquaculture production, this decrease is an important contributor to the stagnation of EU aquaculture. Previous studies have suggested diseases, lack of mussel seed (spat), and low profitability as the main causes of the EU mussel production decrease. In this study, we investigate how economic and environmental factors have contributed. Moreover, we examine if the different mussel production techniques (raft, longline, on-bottom, and ‘bouchot’) have been differently affected, by analysing the economic performance and cost structure evolution for the period 2010–2016. We complement these results with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the EU mussel sector based on expert knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews in Aquaculture
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)91-118
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • access to space, atomization, economic performance, environmental factors, low impact, swot analysis

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