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Exmouth Mussels Awarded Sustainability Certificate

Sustainability Post-harvest Politics +3 more

UK - The Exmouth Mussel Company was granted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification as a sustainable and well managed fishery. This prestigious international certificate means that subject to traceability rules Exmouth Mussels may now bear the MCSs blue ecolabel.

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Working within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a National and Local Nature Reserve, Exmouth Mussels is acutely aware of its responsibilities to the Exe Estuary. Specialist harvesting equipment has been designed to hover over the seabed, lifting the mussels with water jets and leaving the base layers untouched. Exmouth Mussels gather tiny seed mussels from the sand banks at the entrance to the river (before they are washed away in autumn storms) and moves them to more protected areas within the estuary. Left to grow for 2 years they provide habitats and feeding opportunities for the 57 species that live on the mussel beds and food for the birds that take advantage of this rich food source.

Independent certifiers, MacAllister and Elliot & Partners (MEP), found that the fishery not only met the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries but also made a pro-active effort to support conservation and to maintain good relations with local conservation NGOs.

The Exmouth Mussel Company produces over 200 tonnes of purified product for the national market each year with an increase this year to 1,000 tonnes, most of the extra being exported to Holland.

Exmouth Mussel Company owner Myles Blood Smyth says: The Exe is a mussel farmers dream river. Protected from the winter storms and with very high levels of plankton we are able to grow the perfect mussel here. A hard black shell, fast growth and a high meat content means Exe mussels hold top spot in the market place bringing welcome income to this small inshore fishing community.

Matt Watson, MSCs English Fisheries Outreach Officer says: "Im really pleased to congratulate the Exmouth Mussel Company on receiving their MSC certification. This is fantastic news as it is a well-managed fishery run by a company that prides itself on protecting the local environment in which it operates. By using machinery that creates minimal disturbance, the Exmouth Mussel Company can protect the wide variety of marine life in the area, including fish, crabs and sponges."

Founded in 2001 by Myles and Lisa Blood Smyth, Exmouth Mussels Ltd. has won multiple gold medals from the Taste of the West awards and were runners-up in the Best Food Producer category in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2009.

Renowned for their product, it is the environmental ethos of the company that they are most concerned with and proud of.