Mussel farming is a low impact method of harvesting the sea. Mussels grow naturally on ropes that are suspended from bouys and anchored to the seabed. Mussles feed on plankton so there is no need to add polluting food to the naturally clean water, and the farm creates a mini-reserve which has become a refuge for fish and many other species.
Gary Rawle's mussel farm in St Austell Bay employs a team of 4 people and produces high quality and environmentally friendly Cornish mussels, purified and ready to cook. Gary started out working in trout farms, but 25 years ago started producing mussels. Initailly they were grown in the estuary at Fowey and in the Fal next to the King Harry ferry, but 3 years ago he set up his first offshore mussel farm in St Austell bay.
"After 25 years farming mussels in the estuaries we felt it was time for a change. The ever decreasing water quality of estuaries in the UK meant that we needed to do something different. Three years ago we set up our new offshore farm: yep, it takes that long to get the site up and running, and for the mussels to get up to size."
"The site we chose was St Austell Bay in Cornwall, selecting this site was thought by many local fishermen to be madness due to its exposed nature with huge waves. We were told it would be destroyed, but we felt we had no choice if our business was to have a future."
"The gamble paid off, we have had the biggest storms in living memory and yet we are still here: with the cleanest water in the country; the biggest meats we have ever seen; and clean, black shells that we could only have dreamt of when farming in the rivers."