With the ever increasing pressure on natural resources and current intensification of environmental sustainability requirements, it is necessary to find innovative solutions to produce food and other products that stem from the marine environment. A large proportion of the work conducted as DSC is focussed around developing such methods for increasing production of resources with as little impact on the environment as possible. 

The production of shellfish, seaweed and other lower trophic species has high potential in Denmark owing to the nutrient-rich waters. Further, major investments and improvements in wastewater treatment have helped to increase the water quality around Denmark, providing an ideal site for production.

Research activities at the Danish Shellfish Centre actively focus on innovation in different areas:

Mussel Fishing

There is a substantial mussel fishery in Denmark. At the Danish Shellfish Centre, there is constant work in developing, implementing and improving the efficiency of bottom cultured mussels. This can include identifying suitable areas to relay mussels that will provide conditions to ensure good growth, as well as identifying impacts that moving mussels may have on the environment. 

Cultivation of mussels and seaweed

With regards to mussel cultivation, our work focusses on developing more cost effective and reliable methods for mussel cultivation in Danish fjords. Also, by increasing the efficiency of cultivation setups, we want to make sure the highest production potential is reached with the smallest environmental footprint.

Seaweed cultivation is a relatively new industry within Europe. Current research at DSC is attempting to increase the efficiency of multiple production stages of highly valuable species, including substrate seeding and grow out. 

Hatching techniques for oysters and seaweed

Breeding of high-value bivalves, such as the European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis), has great potential for both the restoration of natural populations and production purposes. The Danish Shellfish Centre focuses on the production of bivalve spat in hatcheries, with a special focus on the European flat oyster. Subsequent out-growth in the natural habitat, which is the most realistic form of production, is followed to identify the potential success of hatchery produced oysters.

Production of seaweeds such as sugar kelp (Laminaria saccharina) and dulse (Palmaria Palmata) depends on land-based crop production. It therefore requires innovation in hatchery techniques and methods for managing planted stocks.

Hatchery-based production of such species requires highly specialised and dedicated infrastructure. To this end, there are current construction works at the Danish Shellfish Centre leading to the creation of a brand new, state-of-the art hatchery. The new hatchery will build on the current hatchery processes as well as attempt to develop hatchery techniques for a range of other desirable species. 

Mussels and seaweed as mitigation cultures

The major problem of eutrophication of coastal waters, due to high-intensity agricultural and animal farming practices, provides a real-life potential application of mussel and seaweed farming as mitigation cultures. These mitigation cultures are specifically designed and implemented for the targetted removal of farming-derived nutrients from coastal waters.

Profitable utilisation of mitigation cultures requires innovation on several levels including:

  • Development of cultivation methods that are as cost effective as the land-based methods or with other types of food, protein sources or biomass.

  • Development of the utilisation and processing of compensatory crops, primarily grown for the removal of nutrients from coastal ecosystems.

  • Development of management principles and guidelines.