Mussel culture and cockle fisheries in The Netherlands: finfing a balance between economy and ecology

P. Kamermans, A.C. Smaal

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    In the Netherlands, wild stocks of mussel seed are fished and mussels are cultured on bottom plots. In addition, wild stocks of the edible cockle are dredged for harvest. Two of the areas where these activities are carried out are nature reserves. In 1993, the government implemented a policy in these reserves to ensure the conservation, protection and development of natural values and processes in which human activities should fit in. Fishing for shellfish is considered a traditional activity in these waters. Therefore, it is allowed, but under the restriction that no negative effects are caused. As a result of this policy, fishing for mussel seed and cockles is not allowed in areas with a high potential for the development of mussel beds and seagrass fields. A number of bird species are dependent on shellfish for their food requirements. Therefore, the policy makes use of a reservation system. This means that, in years when mussel and cockle stocks are low, an amount is reserved for the birds and cannot be fished. The government and shellfish industry agreed on co-management, (i.e., the fishermen are responsible for implementing the measures). This task is carried out by Producers' Organizations. An overview of the viewpoints of the interest groups and the role of policy makers and scientists is given.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)509-517
    JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Mytilus edulis
    • cerastoderma edule
    • culture
    • government regulations


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