Successful seafood company Blueshell Mussels Ltd is set to add another accolade to its list of achievements with a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for a sustainable and well managed resource. Under the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) the company, which employs around 45 people in the isles, is also about to be entered into Friends of the Sea (FoS) certification.
While the FoS standard already caters for aquaculture producers, with rope grown mussels from Galicia in Spain and Tasmania currently holding certification, this is the first time that a cultivated seafood product has entered into the MSC pre-assessment process.
It will mean the company is the first in the world to produce rope grown mussels with an MSC certification, which was awarded because of the unique cultivation techniques used: the larvae or spat naturally settle on ropes suspended from buoys where they mature into full-grown mussels by naturally feeding on marine plankton.
Michael Laurenson of Blueshell Mussels Ltd and chairman of Scottish Shellfish, said: “It’s quite good to be the first involved and its very important for the mussel industry as a whole.”
It is expected that the assessment process for both standards will begin within the next few weeks.
It signals the sustainability and environmental credentials of the mussels produced by SSMG, which has a processing facility in Bellshill, Lanarkshire.
Around 100 people are employed through the facility in Bellshill and in Shetland; however there are around a further 18 farms in Shetland which supply to SSMG which will also benefit from the accreditation.
With a turnover of just over £8 million, Blueshell Mussels supplies to 80 per cent of UK retailers and a range of household names, such as Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi. They also cater for wholesale markets.
Mr Laurenson continued: “This is tremendous news for our member farms.
“The popularity of mussels has really grown in recent years and we believe that independent certification will help us immensely as we continue to develop the market.”