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Does Organic Matter Make for Greener Mussels?

NEW ZEALAND - Research at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA) is aiming to find out if compost could make New Zealand's famous Greenshell mussel even greener.

The Institute is conducting a mussel experiment in the Marlborough Sounds using the principles of compost underwater.

Regional manager Ken Grange said NIWA received funding last year to test some new ideas in co-culture with an overall focus on sustainability, says reports in teh Marlborough Express.

"Compost heaps have a good feel about them because they're recycling stuff and at the end you get something nice and clean and useful.

"If you grow mussels in isolation they're going to filter water and just poo on the ground, but we want to encourage all these other animals to recycle the waste into something the rest of the ecosystem can use."

Apart from the environmentally friendly aspects of the trial, Mr Grange believes there could also eventually be an upside for the seafood industry.

"The mussel or fish industry will wait and see how we go. They might be interested if we said you can sell sea cucumbers for $90 per kg ... if it proves good for the environment it's got to be good for the fish."

The NIWA is displaying some of the research at the Havelock Mussel festival this week.

View the Marlborough Express story by clicking here.