The pilot area Morsø are hoping to establish as the Shellfish Capital of Denmark

01 July 2019 - Published by Anna Grude
The Municipality of Morsø has a long cultural heritage as a fishing community with the country's largest oyster and mussel fishery. The shellfish industry has through centuries been a key driver in the local economy, although dwindling in the later years. In the CUPIDO pilot in Morsø the ambition is to strategically bring forth the shellfish as cultural heritage, to reignite the pride around this trade and promote it as a future. Read more about how Maria Kjelds, projectleader in Morsø, describes their pilot.

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Do you have a name for your pilot?
In the case of Municipality of Morsø our pilot is our branding strategy for Shellfish Capital of Denmark and project supporting these efforts.

Who are working together in your pilot?
We are working together with a range of agents and stakeholders in our region, - private enterprises, education, science, research, SME´s, restaurants and other regional institutions around the fjord.

Where is your pilot located?
This pilot and project in the northern part of Denmark on the island and Municipality of Morsø, located in the Limfjord.

What is the background for your pilot?
The Municipality of Morsø has a long cultural heritage as a fishing community and with the country's largest oyster and mussel fishery. The Limfjord is one of the only places in the country and in Europe, along with Sweden and Norway, where the native European flat oyster still exists. Therefore, the main shellfish research facility and a branch of one of the largest universities in Denmark (DTU), Danish Shellfish Center resides here. Here are researchers from all over the world, and they conduct some of the foremost research on oysters and shellfish in Europe.

The shellfish industry has through centuries been a key driver in the local economy, although dwindling in the later years. Morsø Municipality is a rural community with some distance to many of the bigger towns and cities in Denmark. The younger generations seek opportunities elsewhere. The local industries are finding it difficult to attract qualified staff in all sectors and the demographic is getting increasingly older. Where schools are shutting down all over the island, nursing homes are still in high demand.

The municipality has a strong ambition to turn this trend around and promote Mors as a place for the good family life and for younger people.

What you are doing in your pilot?
Significant efforts have been made by the municipality and others, to reignite the pride and excitement around this industry and heritage. These efforts include the event Oyster Premiere in October, the Oyster Final in April and the Shellfish festival in June. Over the years Mors has gained important experience in establishing, coordinating and managing big events with thousands of visitors from all over the country.

With this point of departure, we hope to promote the shellfish sector as a locomotive for tourism, industry- and essentially the economy throughout the year. So, the ambition is to strategically bring forth the cultural heritage of a region, shellfish in the case of Mors, to reignite the pride around this trade and promote it as a future.

How are you working together in your region?
So far there has been a lot of collaboration in creating and executing our events. Through the project we are also aiming to establish more formalized networks of agents and stakeholders, to enhance further collaboration and cooperation. We are planning to hold workshops for local stakeholders as well to facilitate their own involvement and networking.

An example of one specific project idea we are initiating, will be in collaboration with Danish Shellfish Center DTU, aiming at schools and kids in general. We are planning to start citizen science/community science-based project for the kids to engage in the clearing and harvesting the invasive Pacific oyster. Hereby they will learn and understand how this particular invasive species is affecting our fjord´s marine environment and take an active part in finding a solution.

We are also planning to work with local restaurants and stakeholders in introducing our local shellfish and other resources from the fjord into the kitchens around the island´s nursing homes, schools and other institutions. Here we are both hoping to improve the health and happiness through good food, as well as hopefully, finding a good balance in the budget, by sourcing locally and sustainably.   

What are the challenges?
There are quite a few challenges, but some are more substantial. We have seasonal challenges, particularly in our tourism efforts, as the harvesting season for oyster starts in October and finishes in April. Therefor it is not possible to buy or harvest our local oyster in the summer season, which is our main tourism season.

We also face cultural challenges, as we are in an agricultural region of Denmark where the traditional proteins are land-based and there is a lack of a tradition for eating shellfish as well as biases against.

Which stakeholders are involved?
We are collaborating with Danish Shellfish Center DTU, Vilsund Blue, Nordic Food College, EUC Nordvest, School of Fisheries, the Shellfish Festival, Kulturmødet and many of our local restaurants and producers. We are hoping to engage many more.

What do you hope to achieve?
We are hoping to facilitate SME´s and start-ups in the shellfish industry as well as all industries related to tourism and hospitality. We also hope to establish our brand and identity as the Shellfish Capital of Denmark. So, on the shorter court we wish to attract tourists and create more revenue in the tourism sector. On the longer court, the increase in revenue in the tourism sector is hoped to lead to expansion, creating more jobs and attracting more residents.

Who will be affected by the result?
Hopefully all residents of Mors as well as the region around the Limfjord. We are also hoping to attract people from outside of the island, who will either work in Mors and/or move here directly or indirectly because of our efforts.   

 

Maria Kjelds, Morsø Municipality, Project Manager for the CUPIDO pilot

Read more: www.skaldyrshovedstad.dk

Partner: Morsø Municipality