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Stakeholder Perspectives on Blue Mussel Farming to Mitigate Baltic Sea Eutrophication

Zilinskaite, Emilija and Blicharska, Malgorzata and Futter, Martyn (2021). Stakeholder Perspectives on Blue Mussel Farming to Mitigate Baltic Sea Eutrophication. Sustainability. 13 , 9180
[Research article]

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Here, we present an application of systems thinking to controlling Baltic Sea eutrophication-a wicked environmental problem characterized by multiple stakeholder perspectives and no single, agreed upon solution. The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted waterbodies in the world. More than 40 years of land-based (linear) measures have failed to adequately control eutrophication, yet internal (circular) measures are rarely used. Farming native blue mussels for nutrient capture has been proposed as one measure for eutrophication control, but the relevant stakeholders disagree as to its environmental, social and economic benefits. Here, we present the views of four Swedish stakeholder groups-academics, entrepreneurs, municipal government employees and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)-on the sustainability of native blue mussel farming, a circular measure for eutrophication control. Using semi-structured interviews, we elicited stakeholder perspectives on the environmental, economic and social dimensions of blue mussel farming. The interviewees generally agreed that blue mussel farming is not currently economically sustainable, but that it can contribute to the social sustainability of coastal regions. Academics were skeptical of the environmental benefits, claiming that farms could reinforce eutrophication, whereas the remaining stakeholder groups argued for its potential to mitigate eutrophication. In a roundtable discussion conducted one year after the original interviews, all stakeholder groups agreed that blue mussel farming alone will not fix Baltic Sea eutrophication, but can be part of the solution together with land-based measures. All groups also agreed on the need for cautious upscaling, continuous environmental monitoring and constant improvement if blue mussel farms are to be part of a "toolkit" for eutrophication control. Our results highlight the fact that wicked environmental problems can be addressed when multiple stakeholder groups with differing perspectives have the opportunity to achieve consensus through dialog.

Authors/Creators:Zilinskaite, Emilija and Blicharska, Malgorzata and Futter, Martyn
Title:Stakeholder Perspectives on Blue Mussel Farming to Mitigate Baltic Sea Eutrophication
Series Name/Journal:Sustainability
Year of publishing :2021
Article number:9180
Number of Pages:16
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 2 Engineering and Technology > 207 Environmental Engineering > Environmental Management
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (Peace and Conflict Research and Studies on Sustainable Society)
Keywords:Baltic Sea, blue mussel farming, circular economy, eutrophication, nature-based solutions, stakeholder collaboration, systems thinking
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000690282300001
ID Code:25369
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:16 Sep 2021 17:25
Metadata Last Modified:17 Sep 2021 05:01

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