How to benefit from the services of shellfish to the ecosystem?

A.C. Smaal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic


Shellfish communities are nowadays recognized as a key factor in processes and structures of coastal ecosystems.Due to their large abundance, high filtration capacity, reef building capacities and their link between lower and higher trophic levels, they provide various goods and services to the ecosystem. However, an integrated approach for coastal zone management that fully benefits from these services is still a challenge. So far, shellfish functions have been in use for seafood production, nature conservation, ecosystem restoration, water quality remediation or coastal protection. In various cases, functions like exploitation and conservation are considered as antagonistic. Yet, sustainable exploitation can be defined as shellfish culture that also contributes to other societal goals, and for shellfish this is not difficult to imagine. An analysis of the goods and services they deliver is a helpful tool to illustrate this point. Moreover, there is synergy to be achieved by an integrated approach. This is particularly relevant for coastal protection in combination with shellfish eco-engineering and sustainable exploitation. It is evident that global costs for coastal protection of low-lying areas against sealevel rise will be tremendous. The options to combine these costs with direct economic use need to be sorted out. Shellfish beds have the capacity to both contribute to coastal infrastructure, to improve water quality, to serve as food for birds as well as to be exploited by man. Various ways to improve the benefits of these features will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication104th Annual Meeting, National Shellfisheries Association, Seattle, Washington, March 24–29, 2012
Place of PublicationWashington
PublisherNational Shellfisheries Association
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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