The project aims to examine the applicability and quality of fouling organisms on offshore submerged structures to serve as an alternative protein and lipid source in aquaculture. Additionally a harvest device and a processing procedure shall be developed.
The constantly rising demand on fishery products from aquaculture raises the problem of feeding those organisms. Stagnating catches meet rising demands and intensify the costs for fishmeal which is an essential ingredient of aquaculture feeds. Due to the rising prices and the quest for ecologically valuable feeding stuff alternative protein and lipid resources are an essential field of research in aquaculture.
Due to the soaring offshore wind energy business the newly built artificial substrates offer a habitat for Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) dominated fouling communities in the North Sea. On the one hand the increased load of this fouling community demands the usage of higher amounts of steal for the submerged structures to ensure structure stability. On the other hand the associated microfauna aggravates corrosion and welds cannot be properly surveyed. Consequently the removal of the biofouling is reasonable and the standards for structural design of offshore wind turbines of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency specifies a total inspection of 25 % of the windmills from one wind park every year, which also requires the cleaning of the submerged structures.
Harvesting the biofouling of the high number of planned offshore wind turbines in the North Sea opens an enormous protein and lipid source. Blue Mussels have high protein content and are rich in iron and vitamin B12. Additionally they possess a high amount of valuable Omega-3 fatty acids.
The advantage of alternative resources from the marine realm as feed over so far applied alternatives like carcasses, invertebrate larvae or plant protein is that the fouling community is a renewable resource whose application has no disadvantages for the ecosystem nor is it ethically questionable. It has a high potential to serve as a sustainable, organic feed stuff which not only meets the western aesthetics but also offers a species-appropriate feed, which originates from the same milieu.
"Ths project is funded with resources of the state Bremen."