N.H. Fisherman Receives Grant To Improve Wild Mussel Collection And Harvesting Technologies
April 2, 2008
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded an $80,000 grant to New Hampshire
fisherman Andy Lang to continue his work with wild mussel aquaculture.
Lang’s grant is building on seven years of submerged mussel culture
technology development and transfer conducted by UNHs Atlantic Marine Aquaculture
Lang is the recipient of the grant through the USDA Small Business Innovation
Research program. His recent efforts to culture wild mussels on submerged lines
offshore from the N.H. coastline are the first of its kind and have proven
successful. The product is currently marketed as “Isles of Shoals Supremes” in
local fish markets.
Ken La Valley, NH Sea Grant commercial fisheries specialist, says the grant
will help to improve the methods of wild mussel “seed” (juveniles)
collection technology for offshore use. Currently, some of the traditional
lines used in offshore mussel aquaculture need to be used to help collect the
mussel seed, which can cause inefficiencies in the process. Lang and La Valley
will be developing alternative gear that utilizes different lines for seed
collection and the grow-out phase for adult mussels.
In addition, the SBIR grant will allow for the optimization of mussel handling
from harvest through processing. Because these mussels grow quickly, their
shells are thinner, La Valley explains. When they go through the normal processing
machinery, there can be almost 40 percent breakage of the mussel shells, which
creates product losses. Equipment calibration, along with improved mussel storage
and handling techniques, will also be evaluated in the upcoming months.
For more information, please contact Ken La Valley at 2-4343 or email@example.com.