Shellfish catches down
Dutch mussel farms produced a total of 67 million kilos of blue mussels in 2000, one third less than in 1999. Half of this supply of mussels are farmed in the province of Zeeland. Fewer mussels from both Zeeland and the Wadden Sea were auctioned last year. The value of mussels sold at auction was 75 million euro, 30% more than in 1999.
Cockle fishers also landed a smaller catch in 2000. They caught three million kilos of common cockles, one third of the catch in 1999. Most cockle fishers fish the Wadden Sea; a few the Western Scheldt.
Mussel and cockle catches
Because of where they are caught, the cockle catch is included under fishery, while mussel farms are classified under aquaculture, just as oyster farms. The government issues special areas in the sea waters of Zeeland and the Wadden Sea (Dutch only) for oyster and mussel beds.
Areas leased for the culture of shellfish, 2000 (total 8,260 ha)
Oyster beds are only found in Zeeland, in shallow waters, where they cover nearly 3,000 ha. The production of the Zeeland flat oyster has declined sharply, following the outbreak of disease a number of years ago. Flat oysters account for less than ten per cent of the market supply of oysters. The Pacific cupped oyster, which is easier to cultivate, did well in 1998 and 1999. In 1999 the total supply was 29 million, double the number in the beginning of the nineties.
Folkert van der Werf