Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eating More Mussels

Make a New Year's resolution that you'll want to keep, a resolution that will improve your health in a most delicious way.

Eat More Mussels.

Last summer, I posted Want Cheap, Tasty, Healthy & Sustainable Seafood? Choose Musssels, explaining numerous reasons why you should eat more mussels. The title of that post sums it up well, though I should add that mussels are also easy to cook. Recent news articles I have been reading about mussels have been very positive and it seems that more people are enjoying mussels and I fervently hope that this trend continues.

SeafoodSource posted about the results of a Nielsen Perishables Group report, noting that "Average mussels dollar sales increased 5.4%", which is good to hear although there is more than ample room for growth. That same report also stated that "approximately 1.1% of households purchased mussels" which is far too low, and many more households need to embrace the tasty mussel. The peak time for mussel purchases were during the holiday weeks of Christmas and New Year's, showing that mussels are seen more as a holiday item. However, due to the low cost of mussels, they should not be seen as a holiday luxury, and more as a seafood to be consumed year round.

In my prior post on mussels, I stated that the U.S. imports most of their mussels,primarily from Canada and New Zealand. Within Canada, Price Edward Island (PEI) exports about 88% of all Canadian mussels, with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia occupying second and third place. U.S. mussel production is only about 700,000 pounds, the majority grown in Maine. I recommended that the U.S. should move forward to expand mussel aquaculture, and that now seems to be happening, which also makes me pleased.

The Journal Pioneer reported on new U.S. efforts to  expand mussel aquaculture into federal waters. Each state has jurisdiction over the waters up to three miles off their coast, and the federal government is responsible for the waters past that point. Until recently, there hadn't been any regulations concerning mussel aquaculture in these federal waters, but now an experiment is being conducted to assess its viability. The government issued a permit this past October to a shellfish farming operation which is located about 4 miles off of Cape Cod.

The Ellsworth American provided more details about this new mussel operation. The permit is for a 28.5-acre site, in 55-65 feet of water, and will consist of three suspended long-line units, each which can grow up to 10,000 pounds annually. The permit was issued to Santoro Fisheries Corp, which is based in Chatham, and if successful, the operation could eventually increase to 25 lines. Let's hope this operation succeeds, which will lead to even more mussel operations in federal waters, creating more local mussels.

No comments: