What bivalve aquaculture does for us

Given the scale of bivalve aquaculture globally, the benefits it provides to local economies cannot be overstated. And that’s before you consider the products that come from bivalve aquaculture, such as pearls, poultry feed grit and, of course, the food on our plate. But as Andrew van der Schatte Olivier, PhD student at Bangor University points out: “There is so much more to bivalve aquaculture than we currently think.” 

Around 20 years ago, the concept of ecosystem services – “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” – emerged as a way to aid sustainable development. In the language of ecosystem services, those products we gain directly from cultured bivalves are known as “provisioning services”. Alongside job creation and local economic benefits, provisioning services are typically what dominates policy and business discussions but considering ecosystem services requires us to look further. Which is why van der Schatte Olivier set out to uncover the other services bivalve aquaculture provides us.

This story was written for (and can be read in full) at The Fish Site.

Header Image: Examples of shellfish used in spiritual, emblematic or cultural contexts. (a) The shell church, covered in scallop shells at La Toja, Spain; (b) Sculpture of mussels in the mussel producing town of Conwy, Wales, UK; (c) Coastal development designed in the shape of an oyster: The Pearl, Qatar. Credit: van der Schatte Olivier et al. 2018