Offshore production offers a new perspective for mussel aquaculture in the German Bight ( North Sea) as no expansion is possible in the intertidal and subtidal zone of the Wadden Sea because of restrictions on the number of licenses. The development of offshore wind farms offers a unique opportunity because of the associated infrastructure. Service platforms, as well as the pylons themselves, offer perfect structures for mooring longlines and other culture units. One of the advantages of offshore culture may be a lower parasite load in offshore mussels compared with mussels produced under traditional inshore bottom culture. By sampling mussel spat from off. shore suspended buoys or collectors, we simulated an offshore culture situation and compared parasite infestation rates with those in mussel spat obtained from suspended inshore buoys or collectors, in mussels from inshore benthic subtidal beds and from inshore benthic intertidal mussel beds. Mussels from offshore sites were free of trematodes and shellboring polychaetes. Parasitic copepods only occurred at a single offshore site, on a 20-year-old research platform, but not on buoys or collectors exposed for shorter time periods. All three monitored parasite taxa were present at all other sites. The highest prevalence was found for trematodes in inshore benthic intertidal mussels (78.7 +/- 6.4%) and locally reached 100%. Through a variety of detrimental effects, trematodes, parasitic copepods and shell-boring polychaetes are known to affect growth performance and product quality. We therefore propose that offshore mussel production could be a promising culture procedure because it seems to result in lower parasite burden than at traditional culture sites. Whether offshore production also results in better survival and growth, compared with inshore mussel culture on a commercial scale, needs to be investigated further.
Inshore-Offshore Comparison of Parasite Infestation in Mytilus edulis: Implications for Open Ocean Aquaculture
Title: Inshore-Offshore Comparison of Parasite Infestation in Mytilus edulis: Implications for Open Ocean Aquaculture
April 01, 2005
Journal: Journal of Applied Ichthyology
Buck, B.; Thieltges, D.; Walter, U.; Nehls, G.; Rosenthal, H. (2005). Inshore-Offshore Comparison of Parasite Infestation in Mytilus edulis: Implications for Open Ocean Aquaculture. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 21, 107-113.