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Award-Winning Mussels Enter MSC Assessment

Sustainability Food safety & handling +3 more

UK - Exmouths award-winning mussel fishery has entered MSC assessment. If successful, mussels from the fishery will be able to add the MSCs Certified Sustainable Seafood ecolabel to their host of awards.

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Based in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a National and Local Nature Reserve, the fishery is no stranger to detailed assessments.

Owner, Myles Blood Smyth hopes that the assessment will help bring local people a greater understanding of the mussel fishery and its interactions with the local environment: “Many people, when viewing our activities, feel concerned that their local environment is being damaged whereas the opposite is often true. This is a highly regulated activity in a very sensitive area and our activities are regularly thought through and discussed with the relevant authority. I hope that the stakeholder engagement, required in the MSC assessment, will help to drive a greater transparency and public understanding of how we produce mussels in the River Exe.”

The Exmouth Mussel Company produces over 200 tonnes of mussels each year and expects to increase that to over 1,000MT of mussels in 2012. The fishery uses a self-fluidising elevator – an elevator with jets of water – to remove the mussels from their normal beds where they would be easily washed away by tides. They then re-seed them to more sheltered areas where they grow to maturity over the next eighteen months to two years.

MSC’s Fisheries Outreach Manager for the UK & Ireland, Claire Pescod says: “I’m really pleased to welcome the Exmouth Mussel Company into MSC assessment. This is great news, both for the fishery and for the local environment. Fisheries in the MSC programme have shown improved stocks, reduced environmental impacts and – importantly – gains in scientific understanding."

“Exmouth Mussels already have a broad experience of partnership working and the stakeholder engagement and transparency built into the MSC assessment process will build on that experience. There is a large and growing market for MSC certified sustainable seafood and – if successful – local and national restaurants will be able to promote locally grown, certified sustainable Exmouth mussels.”