First fully land-based shellfish farm opens

[Netherlands] The small town of Colijnsplaat, in the Zeeland province of western Holland, houses the first fully land-based shellfish farm in the world. The promoters of the innovation intend, in this way, to address issues such as predators and pathogens, threatening the activity.

The owners of the Dutch farm Smit & Smit, a father and son team, explain they started the project in order to keep away the predators and pathogens that usually affect oyster farming: voracious sea stars, crabs, oyster drills and the persistent herpes virus.

Sybe Smit, the son who has devised the innovative idea, says taking full control of the shellfish’s environment has major benefits.

“We see a big opportunity,” Smit told to The Global Aquaculture Advocate.

In this sense, he stressed that the Herpes virus (Ostreid herpesvirus-1), which has devastated juvenile oysters throughout Europe and as far away as Australia and New Zealand, kills up to 95 per cent of local shellfish growers’ spat.

For his part, Sam Smit, the father, who has enjoyed a 35-year career in designing seafood processing machines, particularly for cleaning mussels, pointed out that the idea to farm high-demand shellfish in 100 per cent recirculated water was his, and he served as a consultant, helpdesk and engineer designing the biotechnical part of the installations.

Meanwhile, Jouke Heringa, an aquaculture research coordinator for the Dutch Delta Academy at HZ University of Applied Sciences, said the operation has great potential.

“The initiative of Smit & Smit in farming land-based oysters based on regional large-scale produced diatoms [algae or phytoplankton] is unique,” Heringa said.

“Unique in the sense of the scale of the controlled algae production but also it produces a large amount of oysters, which are an excellent herbivorous seafood alternative,” he concluded.

 

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