Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Shellfish Aquaculture for Water Remediation


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Geukensia demissa

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Shellfish aquaculture using Geukensia demissa is emerging as a viable solution for mitigating excess nutrients and contaminants in coastal and estuarine waters.

About Geukensia demissa

  • Geukensia demissa is a species of mussel commonly known as the ribbed mussel or Atlantic ribbed mussel. 
  • It is native to the Atlantic coast of North America, ranging from Nova Scotia in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • They inhabit intertidal and shallow subtidal areas, typically found in estuaries, salt marshes, and tidal flats.
  • They prefer areas with muddy or sandy substrates where they can burrow and anchor themselves.

Ecological Importance

Ribbed mussels play a vital role in estuarine ecosystems.

  • Water Filtration: They filter large volumes of water, helping to improve water quality by removing suspended particles and excess nutrients.
  • Key species of Food Chain: Additionally, their presence provides habitat and food for various other organisms, including small invertebrates and fish.
  • Organisms Filter: These mussels thrive in diverse habitats and possess the ability to filter bacteria, microalgae, and detritus laden with nutrients and contaminants.

Geukensia demissa: Experimental Deployment and Results

  • To assess the efficacy of G. demissa in purifying urban waters, a raft stocked with local ribbed mussels was deployed in an estuary near New York City.
  • Subsequent analysis revealed that the mussels exhibited robust health and accumulated significant amounts of local nitrogen isotopes, indicative of nitrogen removal from the water.
  • Based on the findings, it is estimated that a fully stocked raft could purify an average of 11,356 m3 of water daily and remove approximately 159 kg of particulate matter on a daily basis.
  • Moreover, upon harvesting, the mussels sequestered 62.6 kg of nitrogen in their tissues and shells, further enhancing the water quality.



[2011] Recently, “oil-zapper” was in the news. What is it?

(a) It is an eco-friendly technology for the remediation of oily sludge and oil spills

(b) It is the latest technology developed for under-sea oil exploration

(c) It is a genetically engineered high biofuel-yielding maize variety

(d) It is the latest technology to control the accidentally caused flames from oil wells

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