Mussels show their economic muscle

A mussel farm in Shetland's north mainland. Photo: Seafood Shetland

SHETLAND continues to be the main Scottish production area for mussels, a new national survey has confirmed.

The Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey 2016 document, which was published by Marine Scotland on Wednesday, highlights an overall Scottish production increase of six per cent to 7,732 tonnes of farmed mussels with an estimated value of £11.7 million.


Shetland remains the most significant mussel producing area, representing 74 per cent of the overall total, at a value of around £7.4 million.

Seafood Shetland chief executive Ruth Henderson said mussel farming was a significant contributor to the rural economy.

“These figures demonstrate that Shetland remains the prime location for mussel production. Not only do we have the right environment and growing conditions, we have an experienced and knowledgeable workforce to sustain and grow the industry,” Henderson said.

“Full MSC accreditation underpins Shetland’s shellfish growers’ commitment to sustainability and gives customers confidence in the product.

“Looking to the future, there is a move towards consolidating operations and sharing distribution which reduces costs and risk for individual operators.”

The industry is currently working with NAFC Marine Centre UHI to establish a commercial hatchery to avoid its reliance on the natural availability of mussel spat.