Fascinating facts about invertebrate species like crabs, shrimp, and shellfish. Lobsters are so interesting they have their own page!
About the Species
U.S. farmed blue mussels are a smart seafood choice because they are sustainably grown and harvested under U.S. state and federal regulations.
- Range from 2-4 niches at maturity, though can grow up to 8 inches.
- The shell is black, blue-black or brown, tear-drop shaped and has concentric lines marking the outside; the inner shell is white.
- The ‘beard’ is the byssal threads allowing the mussel to attach to substrate.
- Are of the shellfish family. Like oysters, clams and scallops they are bivalve mollusks, and have a hinged shell.
- Adults are sessile – they stay in one place – and inhabit both intertidal and sub-tidal areas.
- Have fast growth rates and high reproduction rates.
- First mature as males, then later develop female reproductive capabilities.
- Each female can produce between 50 and 200 million eggs during a spawning event.
- Permitting for shellfish aquaculture is governed by federal, state and local governments.
- The federal agencies involved are NOAA, the Army Corps of Engineers, Fish & Wildlife Service, US Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Coast Guard.
- Shellfish farms must adhere to federal regulations including those in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.
- Information on shellfish aquaculture permitting can be found in the Shellfish Growers Guide.
- A variety of shellfish aquaculture tools, including maps and models, are available to coastal managers.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Blue mussels are subject to commercial use and intensive aquaculture.