Press release 2017-10-10

Cultivation of Japanese giant oysters in new innovation project

Can Japanese giant oysters increase the profitability of Swedish mussel and oyster farms and contribute to sustainable aquaculture? Outside Lysekil on the west coast of Sweden an innovation project is underway in which IVL will test new methods for cultivating foreign species in the sea.

– The project will look at different cultivation methods and evaluate submerged cultivation systems, a technology which is new to Sweden. If we are successful this may give rise to a whole new industry here, says Åsa Strand, researcher in foreign species and aquaculture at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

Åsa Strand will draw up methods to inhibit propagation of the cultivated Japanese oysters. She will also explore ways in which production of cultivated domestic blue mussels and oysters can be improved and effectivised, and whether it will be possible to reduce problems with fouling found in the crops today.

According to Åsa Strand, the Japanese giant oyster is a promising candidate for both the diversification and expansion of the Swedish shellfish industry. Since 2006, the species has established itself in Swedish waters, but because the authorities are responsible for monitoring activities that may lead to the spread of invasive species, new methods must be developed before it can be cultivated in Sweden.

In addition to positive effects on actual production, cultivation may have a number of additional benefits, says Åsa Strand.

– Because oysters absorb nutrients they can have positive environmental effects in areas suffering from eutrophication. Another important aspect is that cultivation below the surface of water does not compete for land space and therefore may be more easily accepted. Expanding this type of aquaculture could in turn contribute both to economic and social development and provide job opportunities at a local level and support viable coastal communities.

The project is financed via the Swedish Board of Agriculture. It starts in September 2017 and runs until December 2020.

For more information please contact:
Åsa Strand, asa.strand@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 66 05