Blue Mussels

DEI produces blue mussels Mytilus edulis for research purposes.

DEI has discovered how to consistently produce “blonde” mussels in our hatchery. Blonde mussels are a naturally occurring color mutation, taste similar to normal-colored mussels, and their stunning appearance is especially stimulating to consumers.  DEI’s work in this area has a great economic impact to mussel farmers in Maine as blonde mussels help farmers differentiate their product on the market. 

Currently, DEI is examining methods to expand production of cultured blue mussels by addressing the barrier to increased farmed mussel production in the northeast — seed production. By improving hatchery production of juvenile mussels, DEI can provide reliable, cultured seed to growers who otherwise have had to rely on capturing wild seed (which is highly variable both in time and geographic area) and are now limited to growing one mussel crop per year. If growers do not have to wait for wild spat to settle on their ropes, they can grow more than one crop per year.

This research is composed of:

  • Using cryopreservation on mussels for the first time, Cryopreservation is a method used for more cost efficient hatchery production of shellfish, but no methods currently exist for blue mussels. DEI’s is developing a protocol for cryopreserving mussel gametes and larvae.
  • Testing different types of settlement substrates (rope) in the hatchery and field to determine which is best to grow mussels on.

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