Belgium Finally Has Home Grown Mussels

A handful of the first Belgian mussels Credit: Colruyt Twitter

FOR a country renowned for its love of mussels, Belgium has had to import the tasty mollusc but this has now all changed.

The Colruyt supermarket group has harvested the first mussels from its new mussel farm off the Belgian coast. “Finally, the country of mussel eaters has its own mussels”, observed minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

A year and a half after the launch of the construction of the first commercial marine farm, some five kilometres from the Belgian coast, Colruyt Group is harvesting the first Belgian mussels from its own culture.

Additional mussel ropes have recently been installed to increase the amount of mussels available for next year over this year’s expected maximum of 15 tonnes.

With an average consumption of 2.2 kg of mussels per year, Belgians are among the biggest consumers of mussels in Europe.

Surprisingly then, the production of mussels was until recently non-existent, although wild mussels are naturally present in the Belgian part of the North Sea and the mussels develop perfectly there.

Three years ago, when the Marine Spatial Plan allowing commercial activities in the North Sea came into force, the Colruyt group applied for and obtained the necessary permits to cultivate mussels, and eventually also oysters and seaweed, in the Westdiep area.

There has been some criticism of the concept from fishermen and environmentalists but the Government is very supportive as it wants to see imports of all types reduced wherever possible and the company argues that the way in which the mussels are grown is as ‘green’ as possible.

According to VTR, Belgian chef Seppe Nobels was invited to prepare some of the first Belgian mussels and he created a Moroccan-style moule dish which was available to taste on the Vissersplein in Ostend on Friday July 21.

Stefan Goethaert, newly appointed CEO of Colruyt Group commented “The high concentration of plankton in the Westdiep area allows us to obtain a delicious, very full mussel, with a creamy and slightly salty taste. A truly unique Belgian product.”

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page