Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Recruitment and commercial seed procurement of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis in Maine


A thorough understanding of recruitment in the blue mussel is necessary if the new industry is to maximize seed procurement without impinging upon other fisheries. Larval appearance is a relatively precise event in Maine, cued to early summer water temperature of 10–12 C and, apparently, full moon spawning events. Mussel larvae are more abundant on the flood tides indicating inshore and estuarine retention, although this retention relates to the morphometry and relative energy of the system. Webb Cove, a wide embayment with maximum sample station current velocity of 0.2 m/s, showed a random ebb tide vs. flood tide larval distribution; the narrow, long Damariscotta River estuary with 0.35 m/s current velocity showed a two‐fold flood tide larval enhancement and the Jordan River with 1.5 m/s current velocities showed up to a 14‐fold flood tide enhancement of mussel larvae and bysally drifting juveniles. Thus certain Maine estuaries may act as larval traps, providing areas of concentrated settlement and seed abundance. Primary setting normally begins with a large initial pulse in June followed by one or more secondary pulses throughout the summer. Secondary settlement (reattachment of bysally drifting juveniles) occurs at lower levels throughout the year, especially in late July and early August. Maximum attachment of larvae and juveniles occurs during periods of maximum current velocity. Extensive eelgrass beds at the mouths of some estuaries (i.e., Jordan River) may be the sites of extensive primary and secondary setting. Great Eastern Mussel Farms, the industry component, guided by these studies, is testing the deployment of live and shell mussel cultch to develop and optimize a new seed procurement system.

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Journal Title

Journal of the World Aquaculture Society



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