Black Mussel

(Choromytilus meridionalis)

South African Mussel, Mussel

1) What is it?

The black mussel is a species of bivalve which is a member of the family Mytilidae. It is naturally distributed from the South coast of South Africa to central Namibia. It is narrower are more black than the Mediterranean mussel, but is often confused for the Mediterranean mussel.

2) How was it caught or farmed?

Black mussels attached themselves naturally to the ropes suspended in the water column from floating rafts in sheltered bays in the sea that is being used to farm the Mediterranean mussel. When the mussels are harvested, both species of mussels are collected for use. As mussels are filter feeders no feed is required and damage to the environment is minor and generally limited to the immediate area (waste discharge that has settled on the floor). Mussels actually enhance water quality by clarifying water and reducing concentrations of organic matter and nutrients in the water column.

3) Where is it from?

Black mussels are farmed largely around Saldanha Bay. Management is in the form of strict environmental assessments and permit regulations.