Commissioned by Meromar Seafoods BV and in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Staatsbosbeheer Texel and Zilt Proefbedrijf, Royal HaskoningDHV has drafted a development plan to enable cockle farming inside the dike in the Wassenaar Polder on Texel, the Netherlands. The development plan is based on the wishes of the cockle farmer and the habitat manager so that these go hand in hand. The development plan serves as the basis for a cockle farming pilot in the Wassenaar Polder. The pilot will last four years, after which the particular part of the Wassenaar Polder will be handed over as a brackish natural habitat, an express wish of Staatsbosbeheer.
Since the ban on mechanical cockle fishing in the Wadden Sea, the industry has been seeking a sustainable alternative method of harvesting these popular shellfish. There is great market demand. The salinization of agricultural land is also a growing problem for farmers and for our own food supply. Farming cockles in brackish ground is an opportunity to tackle both problems.
One of the most important conditions for economically profitable cockle farming is the use of the natural ebb and flow cycle for the supply of fresh, nutrient-rich sea water. This saves energy and means that a higher return can be achieved than if the sea water needs to be pumped up and the feed must be grown separately. The water required is supplied via a floating water intake and flows into the polder via a pipeline that is laid through the dike.
The parties involved agree that the Wassenaar Polder on Texel is a golden opportunity. At the moment the parties are hard at work to secure the financing for the pilot experiments. If the pilot is deemed a success after four years, the project could be scaled up along the Wadden Sea coast in the provinces of Noord Holland, Friesland and Groningen and could mean extra income of many millions of euros in shellfish products.