Illustration of Mussels

Mussels

Filters

Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

Regions

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Blue mussel

Mytilus edulis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

Worldwide

Overall Rating

8.1 / 10

Summary

Mussels are cultured throughout many regions of the world in a sustainable manner. Almost 90% of the global mussel production is from aquaculture. Mussels reproduce quickly and abundantly in both wild and farmed varieties.

Mussels are cultured either on-bottom or off-bottom (suspended). Off-bottom culture accounts for 85% of farms and has minimal habitat effects. On-bottom cultures can cause some seabed and benthic damage due to the dredging method of collecting them. The collection of spat by hand or artificial substrates is preferable over dredging natural sites, which can damage sensitive habitat areas.

Mussels filter plankton from the water so aquaculture of this species does not rely on additional feed or fish oil as are common in other aquaculture industries. Disease is rare in mussel aquaculture so antibiotics and chemicals are not necessary and are therefore rarely used.

Management plans in many mussel producing countries have developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for culturing mussels. On Canada’s west coast, the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association is developing BMPs for shellfish production. In the US, BMPs are being developed or are already implemented. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has developed BMPs for shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of the US. Aquaculture licenses are limited and farmers follow strict food safety and environmental regulations in Canada and the United States.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Mediterranean mussel

Mytilus galloprovincialis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

Worldwide

Overall Rating

8.1 / 10

Summary

Mussels are cultured throughout many regions of the world in a sustainable manner. Almost 90% of the global mussel production is from aquaculture. Mussels reproduce quickly and abundantly in both wild and farmed varieties.

Mussels are cultured either on-bottom or off-bottom (suspended). Off-bottom culture accounts for 85% of farms and has minimal habitat effects. On-bottom cultures can cause some seabed and benthic damage due to the dredging method of collecting them. The collection of spat by hand or artificial substrates is preferable over dredging natural sites, which can damage sensitive habitat areas.

Mussels filter plankton from the water so aquaculture of this species does not rely on additional feed or fish oil as are common in other aquaculture industries. Disease is rare in mussel aquaculture so antibiotics and chemicals are not necessary and are therefore rarely used.

Management plans in many mussel producing countries have developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for culturing mussels. On Canada’s west coast, the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association is developing BMPs for shellfish production. In the US, BMPs are being developed or are already implemented. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has developed BMPs for shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of the US. Aquaculture licenses are limited and farmers follow strict food safety and environmental regulations in Canada and the United States.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Green mussel

Perna canaliculus

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

New Zealand (most)

Overall Rating

8.1 / 10

Summary

Mussels are cultured throughout many regions of the world in a sustainable manner. Almost 90% of the global mussel production is from aquaculture. Mussels reproduce quickly and abundantly in both wild and farmed varieties.

Mussels are cultured either on-bottom or off-bottom (suspended). Off-bottom culture accounts for 85% of farms and has minimal habitat effects. On-bottom cultures can cause some seabed and benthic damage due to the dredging method of collecting them. The collection of spat by hand or artificial substrates is preferable over dredging natural sites, which can damage sensitive habitat areas.

Mussels filter plankton from the water so aquaculture of this species does not rely on additional feed or fish oil as are common in other aquaculture industries. Disease is rare in mussel aquaculture so antibiotics and chemicals are not necessary and are therefore rarely used.

Management plans in many mussel producing countries have developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for culturing mussels. On Canada’s west coast, the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association is developing BMPs for shellfish production. In the US, BMPs are being developed or are already implemented. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has developed BMPs for shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of the US. Aquaculture licenses are limited and farmers follow strict food safety and environmental regulations in Canada and the United States.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Blue mussel

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge, Hand rake

Location

Maine, Massachusetts (rake only), New York, Rhode Island

Overall Rating

2.8 - 3.3 / 5

Summary

The majority of blue mussels harvested in Atlantic US are from Maine, although small catches also originate from Massachusetts, New  York, and Rhode Island. There are uncertainties around the population abundance and fishing pressure. All states place limits on fishing. Bycatch with use of hand rakes and dredges are minimal. Although dredges cause more habitat damage than rakes, regulations mitigate the impact of dredges. Maine lands an average of 17 million lbs of blue mussels per year. About 95% of the catch is taken by dredges. There is no data on the abundance or fishing mortality of blue mussels in Massachusetts.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Mussels (various)

Mytilus spp., Perna spp.

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture, On-bottom culture

Location

Worldwide

Overall Rating

8.1 / 10

Summary

Mussels are cultured throughout many regions of the world in a sustainable manner. Almost 90% of the global mussel production is from aquaculture. Mussels reproduce quickly and abundantly in both wild and farmed varieties.

Mussels are cultured either on-bottom or off-bottom (suspended). Off-bottom culture accounts for 85% of farms and has minimal habitat effects. On-bottom cultures can cause some seabed and benthic damage due to the dredging method of collecting them. The collection of spat by hand or artificial substrates is preferable over dredging natural sites, which can damage sensitive habitat areas.

Mussels filter plankton from the water so aquaculture of this species does not rely on additional feed or fish oil as are common in other aquaculture industries. Disease is rare in mussel aquaculture so antibiotics and chemicals are not necessary and are therefore rarely used.

Management plans in many mussel producing countries have developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for culturing mussels. On Canada’s west coast, the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association is developing BMPs for shellfish production. In the US, BMPs are being developed or are already implemented. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has developed BMPs for shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of the US. Aquaculture licenses are limited and farmers follow strict food safety and environmental regulations in Canada and the United States.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Bay mussel

Mytilus trossulus

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

BC

Overall Rating

8.1 / 10

Summary

Mussels are cultured throughout many regions of the world in a sustainable manner. Almost 90% of the global mussel production is from aquaculture. Mussels reproduce quickly and abundantly in both wild and farmed varieties.

Mussels are cultured either on-bottom or off-bottom (suspended). Off-bottom culture accounts for 85% of farms and has minimal habitat effects. On-bottom cultures can cause some seabed and benthic damage due to the dredging method of collecting them. The collection of spat by hand or artificial substrates is preferable over dredging natural sites, which can damage sensitive habitat areas.

Mussels filter plankton from the water so aquaculture of this species does not rely on additional feed or fish oil as are common in other aquaculture industries. Disease is rare in mussel aquaculture so antibiotics and chemicals are not necessary and are therefore rarely used.

Management plans in many mussel producing countries have developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for culturing mussels. On Canada’s west coast, the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association is developing BMPs for shellfish production. In the US, BMPs are being developed or are already implemented. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has developed BMPs for shellfish aquaculture on the west coast of the US. Aquaculture licenses are limited and farmers follow strict food safety and environmental regulations in Canada and the United States.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Chilean mussel fishery and suspended culture Toralla S.A and Cultivos Toralla S.A

Variety

Chilean mussel

Mytilus chilensis

Method

Wild

Off-bottom culture

Location

South East Pacific

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Chilean mussel fishery and suspended culture Toralla S.A and Cultivos Toralla S.A

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Exmouth mussels

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus spp

Method

Wild

Off-bottom culture

Location

NW English Channel

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Exmouth mussels

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Naturland

Variety

Mussels

Multiple Species

Method

Farmed

Various

Location

Worldwide

Eco-Certification

Naturland

Summary

In 2012 Seafood Watch completed a comprehensive study of different eco-certification programs to determine if any would be equivalent to their sustainability standards. As a result of this study this aquaculture eco-certification were determined to be equivalent to an Ocean Wise recommendation. Learn more about our recommendation policy here.

 

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Food Alliance Shellfish

Variety

Mussels

Multiple Species

Method

Farmed

Various

Location

Worldwide

Eco-Certification

Food Alliance Shellfish

Summary

In 2012 Seafood Watch completed a comprehensive study of different eco-certification programs to determine if any would be equivalent to their sustainability standards. As a result of this study this aquaculture eco-certification were determined to be equivalent to an Ocean Wise recommendation. Learn more about our recommendation policy here.

 

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Canadian Organic

Variety

Mussels

Multiple Species

Method

Farmed

Various

Location

Canada

Eco-Certification

Canadian Organic

Summary

In 2012 Seafood Watch completed a comprehensive study of different eco-certification programs to determine if any would be equivalent to their sustainability standards. As a result of this study this aquaculture eco-certification were determined to be equivalent to an Ocean Wise recommendation. Learn more about our recommendation policy here.

 

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Variety

Mussels

Multiple Species

Method

Farmed

Various

Location

Worldwide

Eco-Certification

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Summary

In 2012 Seafood Watch completed a comprehensive study of different eco-certification programs to determine if any would be equivalent to their sustainability standards. As a result of this study this aquaculture eco-certification were determined to be equivalent to an Ocean Wise recommendation. Learn more about our recommendation policy here.

 

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

GAA BAP

Variety

Mussels

Multiple Species

Method

Farmed

Various

Location

Worldwide

Eco-Certification

GAA BAP

Summary

In 2012 Seafood Watch completed a comprehensive study of different eco-certification programs to determine if any would be equivalent to their sustainability standards. As a result of this study this aquaculture eco-certification were determined to be equivalent to an Ocean Wise recommendation. Learn more about our recommendation policy here.

 

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Various
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Royal Frysk Jutland blue shell mussel dredge

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

East coast of Jutland, Denmark

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Royal Frysk Jutland blue shell mussel dredge

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - VMI East Jutland blue shell mussel dredge

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

Southern Kattegat and the Baltic Sea

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
VMI East Jutland blue shell mussel dredge

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Schleswig-Holstein blue shell mussel

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge, On-bottom culture

Location

ICES Area IVb – in the German part of the Wadden Sea around Niedersachsen; Schleswig-Holstein and Flensburger Innenförde area. North Sea, FAO statistical area 27

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Schleswig-Holstein blue shell mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Limfjord blue shell mussel (rope grown)

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

Limfjorden, Denmark

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Limfjord blue shell mussel (rope grown)

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - North Menai Strait mussel

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

On-bottom culture

Location

Irish Sea

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
North Menai Strait mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Seafood Romo East Jutland and Isefjord blue shell mussel dredge

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

East coast of Jutland, Denmark and Isefjord, Denmark

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Seafood Romo East Jutland and Isefjord blue shell mussel dredge

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Netherlands blue shell mussel

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge, On-bottom culture

Location

The Waddenzee and Zeeuwse delta of the Dutch coastal region

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Netherlands blue shell mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - DFPO Limfjord mussel and cockle

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

Denmark’s Limfjord, FAO Statistical Area 27

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
DFPO Limfjord mussel and cockle

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Isefjord and East Jutland Danish blue shell mussel

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

In the Isefjord and on the East Jutland Coast

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Isefjord and East Jutland Danish blue shell mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Blue mussel

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge

Location

Massachusetts

Overall Rating

2.4 / 5

Summary

The majority of blue mussels harvested in Atlantic US are from Maine, although small catches also originate from Massachusetts, New  York, and Rhode Island. There are uncertainties around the population abundance and fishing pressure. All states place limits on fishing. Bycatch with use of hand rakes and dredges are minimal. Although dredges cause more habitat damage than rakes, regulations mitigate the impact of dredges. Maine lands an average of 17 million lbs of blue mussels per year. About 95% of the catch is taken by dredges. There is no data on the abundance or fishing mortality of blue mussels in Massachusetts.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture, On-bottom culture

Location

North Sea

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Netherlands suspended culture mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

Skagerrak & Kattegat

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
SSPO Swedish West Coast rope grown mussel

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Farmed

Off-bottom culture

Location

Scottish Mainland & Shetland

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Shetland and Scottish Mainland Rope Grown mussel Enhanced fishery

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Modified Dutch bottom dredge with limited hand raking

Location

Ireland

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Ireland Bottom Grown Mussel (Mytilus edulis) Fishery

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Modified Dutch bottom dredge with limited hand raking

Variety

Mussels

Mytilus edulis

Method

Wild

Dredge, Hand rake

Location

Northern Ireland

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Northern Ireland Bottom Grown Mussel (Mytilus edulis) Fishery

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods