NCCOS and international colleagues from Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute of Ireland and LongLine Environment, Ltd. presented "Nutrient trading & shellfish farming: a win-win solution?" at a public meeting this October 2021, marking the end of the project Green Aquaculture Intensification in Europe (GAIN). The three and a half year project conducted by 21 multi-national partners and totaling $7M was funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Program with the objective of developing innovative production tools, such as improved feed design and use of sensors and Big Data for precision aquaculture, innovative approaches for reuse of by-products and side-streams for production and environmental sustainability, and analysis and proposals for policy improvements to address challenges of a circular economy.
NCCOS and partners evaluated the total annual production of the top five European bivalve shellfish species, estimated the potential shellfish harvest related nitrogen removal, and determined the economic value of the shellfish nitrogen removal ecosystem service to European management agencies ($21 - 57 billion). Spain and France are the two major producers, accounting for 42% and 24% of total production, respectively. The Mediterranean mussel is the most abundant farmed species accounting for 58% of total harvest and 64% of total nitrogen removal, while Pacific oyster is the most profitable of the five species analyzed (44% of total production value). This analysis, and examples of US nutrient credit trading programs, will contribute to the development of a nutrient credit trading program in the European Union.