Project Details


The ambition of BONUS OPTIMUS is to provide robust evidence-based documentation (ecological, social, and economic) on ecosystem goods and services as well as environmental impact of mussel farming to support its future expansion.

Harrnessing the full potential of the “blue economy” is seen today as one of the most promising means to boost growth, employment opportunities and competiveness. In marine systems like the Baltic Sea that already are heavily exploited and subject to multiple anthropogenic pressures, it is of key importance for the long-term sustainability of the blue growth that it does not add to the pressure factors.

Aquaculture of extractive species like mussels and seaweed is an example of a blue growth potential that will not add to the pressure on the Baltic ecosystem but in contrast has the potential to mitigate some of the effects of excess load of nutrients. Thus, farming mussels intends to remove nutrients from the aquatic environment based on a mass balance perspective in the recipient water body thereby creating a truly circular economy.

As mussels farmed in most of the Baltic are unsuitable for human consumption due to their small size, BONUS OPTIMUS will document mussel meal as an alternative protein source to replace fish and soybean meal as a component in diets for fish. There is a worldwide demand for alternative and more sustainable fish feed in the aquaculture industry.

Aquaculture of mussels has the largest potential in relation to production volume, economic potential and sustainability in eutrophic system thereby contributing substantially to blue growth in the Baltic. To fulfill the potential, research and development of mussel aquaculture is needed on several levels: documentation of production potential, extent of the environmental goods and services delivered, environmental impact below farms and how mussel farming can fit in the coastal zone and achieve social acceptance.

BONUS OPTIMUS consists of seven work packages.

DTU Aqua (coordinator)Aarhus University, Denmark
Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Germany
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Coastal Union Germany
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
GRAIN Wood, Denmark
Hjarnøe Havbrug A/S, Denmark

The project is funded by national funding agencies and the European Commission as part of the Baltic BONUS framework.

Research area: Coastal Ecology
Effective start/end date01/04/201731/03/2020

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Project partner)
  • Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (Project partner)
  • Aarhus University (Project partner)
  • Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Project partner)
  • Hjarnø Havbrug A/S (Project partner)
  • University of Gothenburg (Project partner)
  • GRAIN Wood A/S (Project partner)
  • The Coastal Union Germany (Project partner)


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