Belgium’s Colruyt Group has commenced construction work for the first phase of Westdiep Sea Farm.
The project will see Colruyt and its partners develop a commercial sea farm for growing mussels in Belgium.
In December of 2020, the retailer obtained an operating and environmental permit to cultivate Belgian mussels in one of the five commercial zones in the North Sea.
The project is located in zone C, five kilometres off the Belgian coast, also known as the Westdiep zone.
The Belgian accredited inspection and certification body, Vincotte, has certified the final design of the Westdiep Sea Farm to facilitate actual construction in the spring of this year.
A specialised team within Colruyt Group together with its partners, including DEME, GEOxyz, and Parkwind, will be responsible for the engineering and construction of the farm.
Jonas Goeteyn, project manager of Westdiep Sea Farm, said, “Colruyt Group aims to involve as many local companies as possible in the project [...].
“We are therefore proud to count on the exceptional expertise of GEOxyz from Zwevegem for the installation of the longline equipment on which the Belgian mussels will be grown. We hope to include even more SMEs in our ambitious project.”
In the coming weeks, the team responsible for the engineering and construction of the sea farm will place the cardinal buoys and the special marker buoys to mark off the zone.
The demarcation buoys are necessary to guarantee the safety of the seafarers, Colruyt added.
A safety platform, which continuously monitors maritime activity in zone C in the North Sea, has been installed.
In accordance with the user permit, Colruyt Group will inform the various stakeholders about the progress of the project.
Initially, only one square kilometre, or a quarter of zone C, will be used for mussel farming.
In the spring of this year, the first mussel lines will be installed in the sea farm.
Colruyt Group expects to offer the first mussel harvest to Belgian consumers in the summer of 2023.