Mussel farming is a traditional activity in Conwy Bay, going back some 400 years. Mussel production in the Menai Strait East area produces 7-10,000 tonnes of mussels annually, which represents 30-50% of the total UK production of farmed mussels. Bangor Mussel Producers Limited is the association of four companies – Extramussel Limited, Deepdock Limited, Myti Mussels Limited and Ogwen Mussel Limited – that cultivate mussels in this area.
They employ over 20 staff and operate 4 boats from Bangor to farm mussel beds within the boundaries of the 1962 Menai Strait (east) Fishery Order. The Menai Strait is protected under the Menai Strait East Several and Regulating Order (SRO), which is granted to the Menai Strait Fishery Order Management Association (MSFOMA), and is managed through collaborative effort. SROs are special legislation to encourage the establishment and management of private and natural shellfisheries in UK coastal waters – granting exclusive rights over shellfish for a specified period in a designated area. The time period of the Order and level of protection that it has bestowed has allowed successful business planning, and has supported significant capital investment in vessels and equipment. The use of SROs has therefore helped create an environmentally, and economically sustainable industry, benefitting the communities who depend upon it.
The Association is committed to farming mussels in harmony with the environment, ensuring that their operations support a sustainable and vibrant coastal environment, enriching the biodiversity of the mud flats and encouraging wildlife to flourish.
It has a strong commitment to research and has been involved in funding or part funding more than 10 Phd’s and a number of other research projects over the last 15 – 20 years, a commitment that will continue into the future. The fishery was the world’s first enhanced fishery to be awarded Marine Stewardship Certification in 2010.