Expatica news

Belgian mussels to massappear on plates in 2007

25 October 2005

BRUSSELS — The first Belgian-produced mussels will be available for mass consumption in 2007, the Sustainable Fisheries Foundation said on Monday.

Production expectations are so great that the foundation expects the Belgian mussel trade will reduce the need to import mussels from the Netherlands by 50 percent.

In Oostende on the Flemish coast, efforts are being conducted to produce a secure Belgian mussel industry that will remain in Belgian hands.

Sustainable fisheries foundation director Ivan Victor said four zones have been designated where mussels can be cultured.

Currently, a deal has only been made with one firm to start the production of mussels, namely in the zone off the coast of Nieuwpoort.

However, Victor said the foundation wants to also examine the zone on the Thornton sandbank off the cost of Knokke. It is considered possible to place mussel farms between the windmills.

And the expected production of mussels from the Thornton sandbank is 14 tonnes, almost half of the 29 tonnes currently being imported from the Netherlands.

The foundation is examining the methods needed to harvest the mussels and has called in the expertise of José Reynaert, who has already started producing mussels at Nieuwpoort and has conducted 10 years of research.

There have been experiments with Belgian mussels in the past, but the latest effort should greatly reduce the need to import the ‘Zeeuwse mosselen’ from Zeeland in the Netherlands.

The mussels are most often eaten with chips, so Belgian restaurants will in future be able to offer a full Belgian plate with Belgian mussels and chips.

“If this menu doesn’t attract people, I don’t what will,” foundation chief Victor said.

And in a taste-proof session among representatives from the Belgian fisheries industry, the verdict was unanimous: Belgian mussels taste better.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news