Mussel in on the magic
Douglas Wilson, about 25 years ago, while still fishing, decided to diversify and do some small-scale mussel farming near the family home by Loch Spelve on the Isle of Mull. "The sea has always been in my blood and I have been a lobster and crab fisherman since the late 1970s".
"Mussel farming was relatively new in those days and we learnt a lot by trial and error. The operation has gradually grown over the intervening years and I am delighted that my son Ben also now plays a vital role in running the business.
We employ about five people directly on the mussel farm, which might not seem a lot – but for a fragile rural community such as Mull, it is very significant indeed. Our farm is managed by Cameron Maclean, a local man who does an excellent job in ensuring the operation is run efficiently.
Our harvest rates can vary depending on the circumstances, but we usually produce somewhere in the region of 300 to 500m tonnes of high quality mussels every year. I get huge satisfaction from cultivating mussels and am always amazed at how natural this form of food cultivation is. You put your clean ropes into the sea and after a year there can be 50 tonnes of mussels growing on them! The young mussels have settled naturally on the ropes and thrive by feeding on plankton in the water. You can’t get any more natural than that!"
Michael Tait a mussel farmer on Shetland enthuses "This is a great time of year to eat mussels and our customers have been ordering steady volumes of mussels over the past few weeks. This means harvesting has been busy and we have been getting a lot of our mussels away to
We grow over 1000 tonnes of mussels per year which we are very proud to supply to the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group who prepare them to send onwards to our customers. This works well for us and allows us to focus on our farming operations which are quite intense at times.
We employ 17 people year round to help us build our mussel lines, set moorings, deploy spat (young mussels) collectors, grade and thin spat down, inspect stock and finally harvest and ship to the mainland by ferry.