Blue mussels

Mytilus edulis

Chinese mussel, mussel

1. What is it?

Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) farmed in China are medium-sized edible marine bivalve molluscs. Other species farmed in China include Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and hard-shelled mussel (Mytilus coruscus).

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Blue mussels are farmed using ropes suspended to the seafloor. 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). The habitat impact in China might still be substantial because of the sheer size of the farms which are sometimes larger than the carrying capacity of the rope system.

3. Where is it from?

Blue mussels are farmed in China and imported into South Africa. There are a number of regulatory measures in place that are aimed at minimizing any negative ecosystem impacts but the effectiveness of these measures is currently unknown.There is also some concern surrounding enforcement and monitoring at a local scale.


Fishing Type: Aquaculture (ropes)

Origin: Imported - China

Ropes are suspended in the water of sheltered bays and seeded with young mussels or oysters. They grow on the ropes and feed on particles in the water. As they are filter feeders, mussels and oysters actually enhance water quality by reducing the amount of organic matter and nutrients. Damage to the environment is generally limited to the immediate area (waste that settles on the seafloor).