UK mussels earn MSC certificate
The Exmouth Mussel Company has earned Marine Stewardship Council certification.
The Devon-based company works within a site of special scientific interest, a special area of conservation and a national and local nature reserve. Special harvesting equipment has been designed to hover off the seabed, lifting the mussels with water jets and leaving the base layers untouched.
Exmouth gathers tiny seed mussels from the sand banks at the entrance of the river and moves them to more protected areas within the Exe Estuary. The mussels are left to grow for two years, providing habitats and feeding opportunities for the 57 species that live on the mussel beds and food for the birds that take advantage of the food source.
The fishery was found to not only meet the MSC standard, it also makes a proactive effort to support conservation and to maintain good relations with local conservation NGOs.
Exmouth produces more than 200 metric tons of purified product for the national market annually with an increase in 2012 to 1,000 metric tons, most of the extra being exported to Holland.
“The Exe is a mussel farmer’s dream river,” said Myles Blood Smith, owner. “Protected from the winter storms and with very high levels of plankton we are able to grow the perfect mussel here. A hard black shell, fast growth and a high meat content means Exe mussels hold top spot in the market place bringing welcome income to this small inshore fishing community.”