Summary of a multi-day aquaculture workshop with more than 60 mariculture development stakeholders…
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.
Mussels provide net environmental benefits by removing excess nutrients and improving water quality.
Growing mussels requires no feed – they filter phytoplankton directly from the water column.
Mussels can be grown in tidal areas or the open ocean. They can be grown directly on the beach bottom or suspended in the water column.
Shellfish toxins and bacteria occur naturally in the environment and can cause food-borne illnesses. State and federal regulations require monitoring of farmed mussels to ensure they are safe to eat.
- Range from 2-4 inches 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 subtidal 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.
Where They Live
- 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
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
Blue mussels are subject to commercial use and intensive aquaculture.