The Prince Edward Island mussel industry is Canada’s top producer and exporter of rope cultured blue mussels. PEI has earned its reputation for high quality standards based on the diligence and pride of Island growers, processors and industry stakeholders.
- There are approximately 130 mussel growers on PEI who farm 11,000 surface acres.
- PEI accounts for 80 per cent of Canadian mussel production.
- PEI's aquaculture industry contributes over $60 million to the Island economy, with more than $11 million paid in salaries annually.
PEI blue mussels grow naturally in nutrient-rich waters, and are self-sustained with no feed or additives. Using the longline system, the farming process consists of naturally collected mussel seed being placed in mesh sleeves which are suspended in the water column. This longline system provides PEI mussels with:
- Greater access to natural plankton, their natural food source
- Cleaner shells and grit-free flesh
- Protection from bottom-dwelling predators
After 12 to 24 months, the mussels have grown to around 50mm (2") and are ready for harvest. They are immediately transported to federally-inspected processing plants where they are stripped, de-clumped, washed and graded. The mussels are inspected and packed for shipping to markets across North America.
The result is a mussel renowned worldwide for its superior flavour and consistent high quality. This is assured by the industry’s advanced technology and through joint shellfish monitoring programs conducted by the provincial and federal governments. This commitment to quality ensures that PEI mussels remain a highly recognized product with a major share in the world market place.
Mussels are an ideal candidate for aquaculture. They reproduce quickly, have rapid growth rates, can settle and thrive at high densities. Mussels are also not as susceptible to parasites and disease organisms as oysters and other cultured bivalve species. Generally farmed shellfish have a beneficial impact on water quality in the areas they are raised. Although wild mussels are available on the market, OceanWise recommends farmed mussels, especially those grown in suspended culture as an excellent sustainable seafood option.
Learn more about Sustainable Seafood.
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