Last updated on 13 September 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Mytilus edulis

SPECIES NAME(s)

Blue mussel

COMMON NAMES

Edible mussel

The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) is a widely distributed boreo-temperate species occurring in the Arctic, North Pacific, and North Atlantic Oceans. On the east coast of North America, its range extends from Labrador to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and it is common throughout the North Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic Regions. It is most common in the littoral to sublittoral zones (<99 m) of oceanic and polyhaline to mesohaline estuarine environments; however, it has been found in deeper and cooler waters (100 to 499 m) that enable it to penetrate as far south as Charleston, South Carolina (Newell 1989).

To expand mussel production, Maine (USA) mussel producers are developing suspension culture using 12 m triple pontoon raft systems. Each raft produces 45 tonnes of mussels in an 18 month rearing cycle. In Maine, the best commercial mussel beds are found a few feet above and below MLW between Casco Bay and Jonesport. Six of the most productive areas are Casco Bay, Muscongus Bay, Tenants Harbor to Vinalhaven, Stonington to Deer Isle, Sorrento to Mt. Desert Narrows, and the Jonesport area. 


ANALYSIS

No related analysis

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

NOT YET SCORED

Managers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Fishers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


FIPS

  • Maine blue mussel - dredge/rake:

    Stage 2

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
US Gulf of Maine United States Miscellaneous
Towed dredges

Analysis

OVERVIEW

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 13 September 2016

No stock assessment  available for this resource.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 13 September 2016

The combined interaction of eelgrass habitat, mussel behavior and currents results in successful establishment of many mussel populations along the New England coast and points to the importance of eelgrass habitat preservation for the sustainability of the fishery for future generations

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 13 September 2016

Trends

Last updated on 13 Sep 2016

The blue mussel harvest on the east coast of the United States increased gradually during the decade before 1975 and then rapidly, to more than 1,400 t of meats, in the late 1970's (Clifton 1980). This harvest was the first time the high level of the early 1940's was reached, when the mussel was widely exploited during World War I1 (Miller 1980). Currently, most of the commercial landings of the blue mussel on the east coast of the United States come from Maine and Massachusetts, and smaller (annually variable) amounts from New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey (Table 2). The 1986 total harvest of 3,909 t was more than twice as large as that in 1982 and was worth nearly $4 million. The lower average unit value of mussels from Maine, compared with that in other states, is partly due to the fact that a substantial portion of Maine's harvest comes from unmanaged wild blue mussel beds. The lower meat yield and the high incidence of pearls makes these blue mussels generally inferior to those produced in adjacent managed bottom culture operations (Newell 1989).

Most of the landings in Maine are from wild mussel beds; cultured mussels, at the peak of production during the eighties, accounted for about 18% of the total landings. In 2012 the United States produced 739,000 pounds of mussels, valued at $9.45 million.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 13 September 2016

Permitting for shellfish aquaculture is governed by federal, state and local governments.

Wild mussels can be harvested all year, but most fishing is in the winter when the quality of the meat is best. They are taken by hand with a rake or from a boat with a drag. A license is required from the Department of Marine resources to harvest mussels by either method. A mussel drag is essentially a framed mouth with an attached bag. Across the bottom of the mouth is either a cutting bar or a chain sweep which loosens the mussels as the drag is pulled across the bottom. The mussels are then diverted into the bag. Department of Marine Resources regulations, restricts the size of mussel drags to an aggregate width or 6 feet 6 inches.

After they are landed, the mussels may be soaked over night to clean the meat and then tumbled to separate them. Tumbling may also be done on board the boat. The mussels are then sorted by size, graded and bagged for shipment to market, or in some cases shucked and the fresh meats sold.

Mussel regulations were implemented in 1988 by the Department of Marine Resources in response to concerns within the industry and legislature that the intensity of the fishery that existed at that time was leading towards resource problems and conflicts between users. One of the major problems was the significant demand for seed mussels by the aquaculture industry. There was a fear that recruitment to the prime wild beds might be impaired if the seed was heavily harvested and transferred to lease sites. The solution was to find an alternate source of seed for the aquaculture industry. To this end, the mussel regulation established four "seed mussel conservation areas", from which only seed-size mussels may be removed for growout. A permit issued by the Department of Marine Resources is required to remove any mussels from the conservation areas.

The mussel regulation defines seed mussels and their use, describes the seed mussel conservation areas, establishes size limits of mussel drags, and prohibits nighttime harvesting.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

HABITAT

Last updated on 13 September 2016

Mussel farming has a benign ecological footprint, with little disturbance of sediments or aquatic vegetation during grow-out.

Some mussel harvesting methods involve dredging, but long-term effects on the environment are rare.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

STOCK HEALTH:

No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
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No data available

No related analysis

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Evaluation Start Date: 2 Jun 2018
Type: Basic
1.
FIP Development
Aug 17
2.
FIP Launch
Feb 18
Jun 18
3.
FIP Implementation
FIP activities undertaken
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Verifiable improvement in policy/management and fishing practices
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Department of Marine Resources. Historical Maine Blue Mussel Landings.http://www.maine.gov/dmr/commercialfishing/documents/bl.mussel.table.pdf

  2. Department of Marine Resources. The Blue Mussel In Maine. http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/bluemussel.html

  3. Newell, R.I.E. 1989. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (North and Mid-Atlantic)--blue mussel. U.S. Fish. Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11. 102 ). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR El-82-4. 25 pp. http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/wdb/pub/species_profiles/82_11-102.pdf

References

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    Blue mussel - Gulf of Maine

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