Overall outcome: Multi-criteria planning tool

The overall outcome of BONUS OPTIMUS will be a multi-criteria planning tool for provision of sustainably produced marine proteins and ecosystem goods and services through mussel farming.

The planning tool will incorporate both technical, biological/environmental/genetical, economical and social aspects of mussel farming and will add product processing and product suitability to the outcome thus being truly multidisciplinary and integrating many scientific disciplines into a common set of recommendations.

In contrast to previous efforts in the Baltic, the BONUS OPTIMUS planning tool will be evidence based and rely on research and the linkage between disciplines will be based on real, measured data rather than assumptions thereby providing solid documentation.

Expected impact of BONUS OPTIMUS in different areas

Farming technology

Farming mussels require technical skills and knowledge of different farming techniques, which has hitherto been neglected as important for exploring the mussel farming potential, especially in areas where there are no traditions for mussel farming and mussel production is constrained by environmental factors like salinity.

BONUS OPTIMUS approaches the technical part of mussel farming in a dual approach that is new:

  • In areas with existing mussel farming activities, focus will be on optimization of farming techniques in order to make mussel meal production cost efficient.
  • In areas with no previous history for mussel farming, focus will be on transfer of skills and technology through training courses to assure that this is not a main obstacle for the assessment of the true capacity for mussel farming in the Central Baltic.
Environmental impact

With more efficient cultures in existing farming areas like Danish waters, it can be expected that area specific production will increase and thus also ecosystem goods and services. In the new mussel production areas, there is no evidence for neither of the environmental effects of mussel farming.

For ecosystem goods and services, BONUS OPTIMUS will apply new techniques including a towed optical rig, collecting a range of key parameters for the effects of mussel clearance and matching them with high-resolution satellite imagery. Effects of biodeposition underneath the farms will be measured with standard methods and new mitigation methods will be developed. Furthermore, an easy-to-handle kit will be developed and calibrated based on height of the sulphide front using silver sticks.

All environmental parameters will be integrated in 3D ecological models that will provide maps of impact magnitude and scales, and cumulative effects.

Societal impact

The outcome of the technical and ecological results will provide input to the economical analysis both as direct input for cost effectiveness of the mussel production as an ingredient in fish feed as well as a mitigation tool. In addition and as something new compared to previous studies, BONUS OPTIMUS will explore policy alternatives to materialize the values of mussel farming as payment of ecosystem services.

The project will thus not only measure and model ecosystem services but integrate them into values to society. Economic value, employment and improved environmental quality will be criteria relevant when addressing the problems with space in the coastal zone and will beincluded in the BONUS OPTIMUS planning tool.

As something new, other parameters than the obvious physical, biological and economical parameter will be integrated into the planning, i.e. social acceptance of a new activity in an already heavily exploited coastal zone. Local antagonism towards mussel farming may be related to visual pollution, disturbance of recreational activities fear of effects of the farming units and has hitherto not been addressed. BONUS OPTIMUS will examine the obstacles for social integration of mussel farming activities and enter it into the planning tool.

Sustainable marine proteins

BONUS OPTIMUS will make sure that the result of the farming activities can contribute with valuable nutrients to a growing feed industry and replace not sustainable feed sources like fish meal and soybean.

New process technology using a new steam drying technique that separates meat and shells while drying will be tested in relation to processing the mussels. In this system, energy savings up to 85% have been obtained when compared to traditional drying and excess heat can be returned to a central heating system thereby providing a CO2 efficient drying system.

To cover all parts of the value chain, mussel meal from different production sites will be tested as feed ingredient for fish feed for trout.