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 Building with Nature Guideline > Projects > Knowledge - Mussel Seed Capture Installations

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Knowledge - Mussel Seed Capture Installations


Abstract: To reduce the impact of the mussel seed fisheries on wild mussel beds mussel seed capture installations (MZI) (Dutch: MosselZaadInvang installatie) are developed. The aim is that in the long term the MZI installations can supply the mussel seed which is needed for mussel cultivation.

Technological Readiness level: 7 (system prototype demonstration in operational environment)

Environment: Tropical shelf seas and shores, Estuaries & Sandy shores
Keywords: fishing, structure, mussels, protection


Certain coastal waters of the Netherlands, e.g. the Waddenzee and the Delta area, have great ecological value. This value is expressed by the protection of these areas by European law (Nature Conservation Act or the European Birds and Habitats Directive). Mussel seed fishery in these areas may impede with these laws. By using mussel seed capture installations (MZI) the impact of the mussel seed fisheries on wild mussel beds can be reduced. At the moment of writing the musselfarmers are in a transition process from fishing seed to collecting seed.


Initiation phase

The mussel seed capture installations (MZI) installations make use of the lifecycle of the mussel. 

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Planning and Design phase

The main aspect of a MZI installation is a hanging substrate in water. The MZI installation should provide materials on which mussel larvae want to settle and on which they can efficiently develop and stay attached. 

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Construction phase

The MZI installations are made of hanging substrates such as ropes and nets and are placed in the water in the spring at a time when large numbers of larvae are present in the water. The best time for installation of the MZI in the Netherlands is in April.


Operation and Maintenance phase

MZI installations can increase the amount of drift litter in the sea. 

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Lesson Learned

Several lessons can be learned from Mussel seed capture installations (MZI).

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