Aquaculture for all

From the Black Sea Comes EU's Largest Mussel Farm

Technology & equipment Economics +2 more

BULGARIA - Europe's largest and most modern black mussel farm is being built in the Bay of Kavarna. It is owned by the Bulgarian-Irish Black Sea Shells Ltd. company.

Operating at full capability, owners expect a 3,500-tonne yield a year, says a report on BsannaNews. The news association says Black Sea Shells is certified as an organic producer and offers a pure environmental product, conforming to all regulations.

Equipment is tailored to conditions in the Black Sea and the site has been chosen after careful research, Stanev said. Investment stand at 2 million leva. The foundations were laid in 2004 when the company sought a know-how technology in Bulgaria and Ireland. The initial assessment cost 200,000 euro.

The longlines, on which mussels are farmed, can withstand a force nine on the Beaufort scale, winds gusting at 130 km/h and still manage to preserve the mussel crop. The buoys are developed and manufactured by a leading manufacturer.

Within five years, the mussel field is planned to expand to 200 ha. According to Stanev, only New Zealand boasts larger mussel farms.

Research carried out by Varna's Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture shows that conditions in the Black Sea do not induce the build-up of toxins, the company says, which is why cultivated black mussels conform to EU markets' requirements.

At the moment, the daily yield amounts to between one and two tonnes.

The mussel output will be mainly for export, as the Bulgarian market is still small, says Stanev. Mussels are harvested all year round at the farm.

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