National Sea Grant recently announced that DEI was among the 32 projects to receive funding through it’s $9.3 million Integrated Projects to Increase Aquaculture Production and Addressing Impediments to Aquaculture Opportunities funding competition. DEI’s project, Large-scale culture methods for Blue Mussel, Mytilus edulis, seed production in Maine and the Northeast: Experimental Laboratory & Field Trials, will expand production of cultured blue mussels by addressing mussel seed production, the primary factor limiting mussel aquaculture in the U.S. Investigators will focus on methods to improve hatchery production of blue mussel juveniles (spat) that will enable production of reliable seed to growers who, until now, rely on the vagaries of capturing wild seed that is known to be highly variable both spatially and temporally (Le Corre et al., 2013; Morello & Yund, 2016).
The research seeks to address the fact that currently, the demand for mussels in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. is higher than supply. In 2015, close to 50% of the domestic live mussel market in this region were imported from Canada. Over the next fifteen years, the market for aquacultured mussels is projected to expand modestly to approximately 80 million live pounds (an increase from 2015 ofca. 33%), and, without significant change in domestic production, much of that increase will be imported from mussel farms in Canada. Read more here.