In Norwegian mussel farming, the blue mussel (Mytilus edulisis) is the dominating species. The blue mussel can be found along the entire coast of Norway. It is often found in the tidal water zone, where it can dominate both in numbers and production. The blue mussel has a high tolerance for varying environmental conditions and its natural extensiveness is often regulated by biological factors such as predation and competition. Predators include starfish, crab, seabirds and snails.
Collected from wild populations
In blue mussel farming, the mussel spawn is collected from wild populations and then grown on horizontal systems of ropes suspended in the water by buoys, pipes or floats. Mussels are not fed, but live on natural populations of algae in the sea. Certain algae can contain substances that are toxic to humans. Where the mussels have filtrated water containing these algae, harvesting is postponed until the mussels have eaten themselves “clean” again. To ensure that the mussels are of good quality, they are regularly sampled for testing.
The concentration of algae and the amount of water transported through the farming facility will determine the feed accessible to the blue mussels. A sufficient access of feed is crucial to both quality and production time. Compared to other mussel producing areas, the concentrations of algae in Norwegian coastal waters are generally low. The Norwegian coast offers good potential for blue mussel farming.
Norway also has a small production of great Atlantic scallops and flat and cupped oysters, producing 21 tonnes and 2 tonnes respectively in 2012.