Aquaculture (including mussel farming) is currently the fastest growing primary-production sector in Australia. Farming of the Blue Mussel occurs in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory with Victoria being the largest producer of mussels in Australia.
• In Victoria, Mussel larvae or ‘spat’ are first spawned and reared in a hatchery under controlled conditions before they are big enough to be attached to ropes.
• The mussels are ‘cultured’ in deep water with flowing ocean currents on ropes suspended from the surface, which eliminates the possibility of sand and grit entering the shells. This is known as the Longline Farming Technique
• Mussels are filter feeders that obtain nutrition by filtering phytoplankton from the water
• They have a fast growing cycle and can be harvested between 9 and 18 months of age.
• Mature mussels are pulled from the deep water, stripped from the ropes and then passed through a de-clumping, washing and polishing machine. From here they are sorted by hand and graded for size. Any mussels under 70mm or with broken shells are thrown back.
• Mussels are high in protein, low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids
• The colour of the Blue Mussels varies based on the sex. The male has white flesh while the females is a bright orange
• Australian consumption levels of mussels is typically lower than many other comparable developed countries
• The Australian Blue mussel is sold live on the international and domestic market and is widely regarded to be of a very high quality.