mussels tend to occur in bays and estuaries which have
elevated levels of nutrients from land runoff, causing an
increase in phytoplankton (microscopic plants) which is the
main food for the filter-feeding mussels.
They attach to rocks, jetties and piers and sometimes form
dense beds on sandy flat substrates. They can be
found from the low tide level to a depth of 10 metres, and
they prefer sites with significant water movement.
Blue mussels have a minor
spawning period in June, followed by a second, extended
spawning period from August to January. Spawning occurs at
water temperatures of 14°C. Blue mussels are "broadcast
spawners" releasing eggs and sperm simultaneously into the
water with fertilisation taking place in open water.
The fertilised eggs are
planktonic, averaging 0.07mm in diameter and develop into
unshelled larvae within a day.
Larvae are free swimming and
the planktonic stage can last from 2 weeks to several
months, although most larvae settle 3-4 weeks after
Blue mussels are filter
feeders, straining plankton from the water. They are preyed
on by crabs, starfish, leatherjackets, pufferfish and flat
Blue mussels are an important
commercial fishery. There are only small sectors still
harvesting wild mussels. Most mussels are aquacultured,
grown using long line methods, with sprat collected via
natural settlement. All farmed product is sold live and
whole in the shell.
Some information on
Cultured Mussels in Australia:
Mussels are one of the most nutritious, convenient
and value-for-money seafood delicacies available. Today,
mussels are grown at 20 of the lease sites granted in
Victoria's Port Phillip Bay.
The mussels are grown on
ropes in clean, flowing ocean currents and harvested at
their peak condition. Unlike inferior dredged mussels
dragged out of the mud at the bottom, Cultured Mussels are
suspended metres above the seabed and are clean and free
from sand and grit - so clean they need very little
The colour of the mussel meat
varies slightly - the girls are pink and the boys are paler
MUSSELS are high in protein
and minerals and low in calories and fat.
The blue mussel is a filter-feeder distributed widely throughout southern Australia. This and closely related species are also found throughout temperate waters of Northern and Southern hemispheres.
reproduce by releasing either eggs or sperm directly into
the water in a process known as spawning. Hermaphrodite
mussels (containing both sperm and eggs) are rare. Mussels
first spawn when they are over 3 cm in length at
approximately 11 months of age. Mussels in spawning
condition are ‘fat’ and can be recognised by eye at this
stage. During spawning, a mussel may produce up to eight
million eggs, each of which is 0.07 mm in diameter.
fertilisation has taken place, a free-swimming larva is
formed. The larvae are ‘planktonic’ meaning they simply
drift with the currents. Larvae usually spend a few days in
this planktonic stage, however the length time depends upon
environmental factors, such as temperature. After this time,
the larvae will settle and attach onto a surface such as a
jetty pylon with their byssal threads. Once mussels have
settled they are no longer called larvae, but are now called
Mussel farming is Victoria is based on natural settlement. Spawning occurs during the winter months depending on location (from the end of June to August).
Ongrowing to market size is undertaken on longlines. A 3ha farm could have between 10 and 15 longlines of 150m or more shorter lines. Blue mussels are available year-round in Victoria, from different growing locations. Farmers can harvest year-round excepting the month or so directly following spawning. Mussels can take up to 18 months to grow 25g. However, faster growth rates have been achieved; 12 months to 25g and 15 months to 40g.
Mussels are susceptible to predation by fish and growth can
be slowed by competition for space with other organisms such
as barnacles, tunicates, tube worms and bryozoans, which are
also filter feeders and reduce the food available to
Mortality on long lines may result from a lack of food
(phytoplankton), or mussels being physically removed from
long lines by extreme wave action in more exposed locations.
Victoria has abundant clear, productive, marine water, and Port Phillip Bay is regarded as one of the finest spat collection basins and growout sites for blue
mussels in the southern hemisphere. The Victorian Shellfish Quality Assurance and Water Quality Monitoring ensure that Victorian
mussels achieve and maintain high standards. Victorian mussel growers have embraced the Australian Aquaculture Forum's Australian Aquaculture Code of Conduct. Victoria's aquaculture zones are located in water certified to meet the highest standard ('clear water') for shellfish culture under the Australian Shellfish Sanitation Program , which is internationally recognised.
The sites currently available for mussel farming in Victoria can be divided into three areas: approximately 500 hectares on the west coast of Port Phillip Bay (Clifton Springs and Grassy Point), 12 hectares on the east coast of Port Phillip Bay, and
approximately 300 hectares at Flinders in Westernport Bay. Site depth ranges between 8 and 12 metres. Government proposals to establish 1000 hectares near Pinnace Channel may further expand shellfish aquaculture opportunities.
Start-up capital expenses for a 6ha farm are around A$100,000. Annual operating costs are estimated at less than A$100,000. The expected lead time to commercial production is between 12 and 18 months, and estimated annual yield per ha once established is approximately 10 tonnes.
Applicants for a new aquaculture licence should read through the following information. Licence application forms can be obtained from the
Fisheries Victoria Aquaculture Unit head office or from regional NRE offices.
Click for the full article
spat have been produced by Tasmanian hatcheries, however the
successful grow out of these spat has been limited by fish
predation (Daintith et al. 1997). In other Australian
states, most spat are supplied by natural collection on
specially designed collection ropes.
mussels grow, overcrowding of spat may result in stunted
growth and may also result in excess mortalities. For this
reason, juveniles are generally removed from spat collectors
when they are 12 mm in length and then transferred to long
lines at lower densities
No Information available at this time
No Information available at this time
The West Australian Department
of Fisheries website includes comprehensive information
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