Traditional mussel culture depends on the natural environment for the provision of their feed, seed and space. The culture process is based on nature, depends on nature, and it also contributes to nature. A recent study showed the natural values of mussel culture plots, with more biomass and more biodiversity, being higher than natural mussel beds in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Despite or due to the maintenance and harvest activities of the farmers, mussel stocks on culture plots last longer than natural beds. It was concluded that mussel culture promotes nature conservation.
Given the expected global population increase by 50 % in 2050, there is a strong need for improved food supply. Farming the ocean is a likely option. Aquaculture low in the food chain, without the provision of formulated feed, ie shellfish and seaweed should offer solutions. Given actual production trends in Europe, showing a decrease rather than a production increase, there is a clear need for an innovation agenda for all parties involved: producers, processors, governments, and stakeholders.