Blue Mussels, Golden Opportunity

Tidings | Apr 20, 2020

A scientist measuring a mussel on a boat

Blue mussels from Maine are both a special part of the ecosystem and an iconic seafood dish. People from here and away have enjoyed them for centuries and they have only increased in popularity over the last decade.

However, despite their importance, managers and buyers struggle to make decisions about blue mussels due to a lack of data. To address this need, we’re working with industry partners to collect better data through a process called a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).

"The goal of the FIP is to ensure the long-term health of the mussel fishery in Maine and the economic sustainability of the mussel industry,” said Kyle Foley, Sustainable Seafood Program Manager. “It’s encouraging to see the variety of businesses up and down the supply chain that are committed to this goal.”

The collaboration includes eight companies — Acadia Aqua Farms, Bristol Seafood, Cape Cod Shellfish Company, Euclid Fish Company, Hannaford Supermarkets, J.P.’s Shellfish, Maine Shellfish Company, and Moosabec Mussels — which represent each step of the mussel supply chain from boat to plate. The project provides digital measurement tools to help these businesses quickly and accurately record crucial data while on the water. Their data will help us ask and answer questions about mussel distribution, population size, climate change resiliency, and more.

In the coming months, the group of collaborators will gather more data, network with scientific and fishing communities, and pursue additional funding to learn more about this keystone species and important fishery.