Portarlington mussel industry

Portarlington is the mussel capital of Victoria and most say, the mussel capital of Australia.

These tasty blue bivalve molluscs are sold locally, at Melbourne and Sydney fish markets and are a delicacy served in restaurants

Mussels filter food from water and don’t require any additional feed from farmers.  In Portarlington, you can buy a box to take home and cook.

In Port Phillip, acreage is designated for aquaculture farming.  Mussels are farmed on long lines and racks to provide an anchor for mussel larvae (spat) to attach and grow.  This method of farming causes negligible habitat damage.

Early 2000, the mussel industry was in serious trouble.  Mainly it was exotic algae that fouled the ropes on which spat grew and caused the spat to drop off.  Even though more water leases were allocated to farm mussels, without spat to produce mature mussels, farmers had nothing to farm.

A joint venture between mussel farmers and the Department of Primary Industry created a pilot hatchery at the Queenscliff marine fisheries research centre.  Success!  Spat was bred and the mussel industry recovered.

We're used to the idea that farming is on land. 

For Portarlington, farming is in water. 

Both face challenges from mother nature, introduced species, and for both, farmers are passionate about their produce.

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