In 1978 a small trial Mussel longline was anchored in Coromandel harbour and with it, the Coromandel Mussel farming industry was born. In the decades since, the industry has evolved from a group of innovative pioneers, into specialised producers of premium seafood, all while upholding environmental sustainability.
Greenshell mussels are farmed on a subtidal, long-line rope system. Ropes are seeded with very small (1mm) mussels called ‘spat’ which are harvested attached to seaweed on 90 Mile beach. Some spat is at times caught locally or otherwise increasingly it is bred in a commercial hatchery. For further information on farming methods, please see the website of the Marine Farming Association (in Links).
Once they’re on the rope, all we add is water and sunlight and 12-18 months later, we harvest when they are at their absolute best.
In the Coromandel, we produce around 26,000 Tonnes, about 25% of the industry’s mussels. However with new farms and investment, the industry can double production to 55,000 Tonnes, in the coming decades.
Pacific oysters were unintentionally introduced to New Zealand in the 1960s, most likely through the ballast water and hulls of the Japanese ships building the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Our local farmers have taken what was once a “marine invader”, and transformed it into highly-sought after delicacy generating $10 million per year.
They are predominantly grown on sticks and trays and baskets on intertidal farms where they are washed over by two tides a day and spend some time suspended out of the water. They may be handled up to 8 times by a farmer to allow them to grow to their very best and are ready for harvest between 12-20 months.