Edulis: Offshore mussel culture in wind farms

Edulis: Offshore mussel culture in wind farms

Edulis: offshore mussel culture in wind farms was a collaboration between Ghent University, Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO), 5 private partners: Belwind, Brevisco, C-Power, Colruyt Group and DEME Group, and a third research partner: OD Natural Environment. Edulis studied the feasibility of mussel culture in offshore wind farms, 30 to 50 kilometers off the Belgian coast. This ambitious pilot project was largely financed by private funding and facilitated by Flemish and European funding.

In May 2017 a first experimental mussel culture system was installed in the C-Power wind farm. At this location mussel seed capture and further mussel growth was being monitored. Regular mussel sampling results were being linked to the prevailing environmental factors to document mussel growth.

© Pictures: Gust Lesage, DEME Group

In November 2017 a second mussel culture system was placed in the Belwind concession. The forces, exerted by the sea on the mussel longline, were being measured by means of integrated force meters. By comparing these results to the prevailing currents and wave conditions, the minimum requirements for a mussel culture system could be determined and the system design could be optimized.

© Pictures: Gust Lesage, DEME Group

The project goals were to gain clarity about:

  • The biological feasibility of offshore mussel culture in the Belgian North Sea
  • The technical feasibility and requirements for an offshore mussel culture system fit for heavy sea
  • The possibilities for integration of mussel farming with the existing activities in wind farms
  • The profitability of commercial offshore mussel culture
  • The sustainability of offshore mussel culture and the impact on seawater quality

© Pictures: Nancy Nevejan, UGent

Project Edulis ended in August of 2019. The key results are:

  • It is both biologically and technically possible to cultivate mussels in the Belgian wind farms, 30 to 50 km off the Belgian coast;
  • The yield is equivalent to that of hanging mussel culture in the Netherlands and in Ireland;
  • The mussels grow faster than bottom culture mussels (market ready in 15 months versus 24 months);
  • Due to the extreme conditions in the North Sea, investing in robust, low-maintenance and safe systems, including boats, will be a must, despite the higher overall production cost; 
  • Optimizing the size and organization is an important factor to take into account when designing future wind farms, in order to be able to successfully combine energy production and mussel culture. 

Project partners:​



Persmap kick-off Noordzee Aquacultuur - 22 mei 2017.pdf2.54 MB
Persbericht Noordzee Aquacultuur 14092020.pdf230.15 KB
Perstbericht Edulis 14092020.pdf1013.72 KB
Persbericht Value@Sea 14092020.pdf523.14 KB
Press release North Sea Aquaculture 14092020 (English version).pdf228.47 KB