– Hatchery –
Blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, are an increasingly important farmed shellfish species in Maine, especially as wild mussel beds have disappeared along southern and midcoast regions of the state.
DEI has discovered how to consistently produce gold striped mussels through selective breeding. A mussel of this color could help Maine growers differentiate their product in the market and may help command a higher price, offsetting the cost of hatchery seed, while opening the door to new markets that prize sustainable seafood production.
In addition, DEI has examined several methods to eliminate a barrier to increased farmed mussel production in the northeast — seed availability. Mussel farmers have historically relied on capturing wild seed (which is highly variable both in time and geographic area) and are therefore limited to growing one set of mussel seed per year. After testing different types of rope, hatchery methods, and gamete treatments, DEI has developed affordable pre-seeded mussel ropes that can be used at intervals throughout the growing season to supplement natural seed settlement on mussel farms, thus increasing production. Read more about our work on our research pages.
Ropes are available on a limited basis for the 2021 season. Please contact Kyle Pepperman at (207) 259-5048 if you are interested in conducting a growth trial. We expect ropes, seeded with blue or gold mussels, will be available for the industry in 2022.