Belgian mussels from our own sea farm

Belgian mussels? These come from the sea farm of Colruyt Group and its partners. With this innovation project, we are investing on an excellent alternative source of protein: nutritious and sustainable, and at the same time bursting with flavour.

This initiative contributes to our objectives regarding

Updated on 12/06/2024

Belgian mussel harvest

Every year, the mussels are harvested in the summer. In the summer of 2023 fresh market Cru launched the sale of the first-ever Belgian mussels from the Westdiep Sea Farm. A lot of research preceded the realisation and the result is a tasty and high-quality product to be proud of.  In the summer of 2024 consumers will again have the opportunity to savour our Belgian mussels.

As of 21 June, they will be sold in the Cru fresh markets. What’s more, the Belgian mussels will be on the menu at Cuit, Cru’s eatery, and in several other restaurants and catering businesses during the summer

Why do we invest in aquaculture?

As a retailer, we are actively working on innovative solutions to meet the growing demand for balanced and sustainable protein sources. In that context, we also strongly believe in the potential of the Belgian North Sea for the local cultivation of mussels, oysters and seaweed. That is why, in early 2022, together with DEME among others, we started the construction of the first commercial sea farm off the Belgian coast: Zeeboerderij Westdiep. We are currently using 1 km², which is one quarter of the total project area.

Cardinal buoys and special marker buoys in Sea Farm Westdiep A buoy system ensures safety in the sea farm and indicates that sailing is not allowed.

What are the benefits of suspended rope culture for mussels?

In the sea farm, we adopt the suspended culture technology. The lines on which the mussels grow float in the sea. This has many advantages over traditional bottom culture.

  1. The mussels grow two to three times faster, ensuring sustainable use of space.
  2. They contain more meat, have a slightly salty taste and a cleaner shell.
  3. Mussel farming is possible in the harsh conditions inherent to the North Sea.
  4. When harvesting, the seabed is not damaged. 
Suspended Rope Culture Sea Farm Westdiep In suspended rope culture, the mussel lines from which the mussels grow, float in the sea.
Harvest suspended rope culture mussels Westdiep Sea Farm

Is mussel farming sustainable?

The cultivation of mussels, seaweed and oysters at open sea is an extractive form of aquaculture in which the shellfish obtain their nutrients from the seawater and nothing is added to the ecosystem. Mussel seed is naturally present in the Belgian North Sea, so it attaches spontaneously to the aquaculture structures. Mussels also absorb CO2 and use it as building blocks for their shell. Moreover, they are a good choice as a protein source due to their high protein content and low CO2-emissions (about 0.6 kg) per kilogram of mussel meat. Furthermore, the sea farm can serve as a shelter and 'nursery' for fish and other marine life, since fishing and pleasure boating are prohibited there. In this way, the project promotes biodiversity in the Belgian North Sea.

What plans does Colruyt Group have at sea?

In the future, we will continue to invest in aquaculture with our partners. Therefore, our group invested in a boat for both maintenance and installation works, and for mussel harvesting in the sea farm. In addition, an operational team will manage the further expansion of the sea farm.

Colruyt Group co-workers on a boat at Westdiep Sea Farm
This initiative contributes to these sustainable development goal(s)
Learn more about our SDGs
This initiative contributes to step by step
Learn more about step by step