On March 21, Kurzeme Planning Region in cooperation with Latvian Environmental Investment Fund organized the second Regional Meetingin Riga, Latvia. Theme of the meeting – “Mussel farming in Latvia – prerequisites and challenges of a new business niche development”
Based on discussion topics representatives from State institutions were invited mainly: Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Latvian Sea Administration, Rural Support Service, Latvian Institute of Hydrology, Latvian Fishermen Federation.

Main issues were connected to discussion of roles and responsibilities that the institutions carry in mussel farming development and existing and new regulations that have to be followed in order to develop mussel farming as a business in Latvia. 

Summarizing the participant remarks and questionnaires filled in the end of the meeting it can be said that there is positive attitude towards development of mussel farming in Latvia. Experts stressed strong need for a pilot farm to research the most suitable technologies and detect economical potential for mussel farming in Latvia.

Risks and challenges to be faced in Latvia that are similar to ones in the other countries around the Baltic Sea are, firstly, ice and strong winds that might damage the farms in autumns and winters, and, secondly, support mechanisms for potential mussel farmers for investments in equipment and farming. In addition Latvian challenges are, firstly, lack of information (it is important to have a pilot farm for gaining practical information) and, secondly, unclear legislation for particular business development.

Discussion was organized within the framework of the Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme 2007-2013 project CB58 „Baltic EcoMussel”. Project is implemented by East Sweden Energy Agency, Kurzeme Planning Region and Latvian Environmental Investment Fund in Latvia and Novia University of Applied Science in Finland. Duration of the project is 24 months, project activities will continue until December 2013. The goal of the project is to accelerate the commercialisation of mussel farming in the Baltic Sea Region and achieve an efficient upscaling from existing research projects to full-scale farming. Main project activities deal with research and methodology elaboration for mussel farm development. Project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of 77,5 % , total project budget – 723 051.00 EUR.

The content of the publication reflects the author’s views and the Managing Authority cannot be held liable for the information published by the project partners.

Information prepared by:
Ilze Ārniece
Kurzeme Planning Region PR Specialist

Agenda 21.03.2013.