This time in our visit to the supermarket we will stop at the fishmonger. Our star dish: mussels. Rich steamed, Marinera style, Provençal, but did you know that there are different systems for mussel farming depending on the region or country?
Our intention is that you know first-hand what are the benefits of the mussel farming system in Spain and Europe and what is the social repercussion that their production generates in society.
In Spain, the mussel farming or mythiculture is mainly carried out on wooden platforms anchored in coastal waters and are known as rafts. Today this mythiculture process is an essential activity in the Rías Baixas of Galicia.
But, did you know that in Galicia the Mussel Regulatory Council was founded only 27 years ago? That’s how it is.
His first initiative was the recognition of “Galician Quality Product” at the regional level. Years later, and at the European level, the Protected Designation of Origin has been achieved and today, we can proudly say that it is the only PDO for a seafood product in Spain, which gives it prestige and notoriety among consumers, marketers and distributors.
For this reason, the main activity carried out by the Galician Mussel Regulatory Council is quality control, both in cultivation, as well as in its production and distribution, and thus offer the consumer a product according to the requirements of the Galician mussel.
The birth of Ecoplas is closely linked to the Galician raft sector. One of the first products we manufactured was the reparque sacks for the cultivation of mussels in the Rías Baixas. Over the years, we have been expanding the range of products, according to the demands of our customers, but we continue to manufacture extruded bags designed for both the cultivation and packaging of mussels and other bivalves.
It is important to note that there are different types of mussel farming depending on the geographical area where we are. And this is mainly due to the fact that not all mussels are the same:
- PDO Mexillon de Galicia: The species Mytilus galloprovincialis is protected. It is carried out in rafts and the interior maritime space of the Rías Gallegas goes from the provinces of A Coruña and Pontevedra.There are currently more than 3,000 rafts in Galicia and each raft can have about 500 strings, each one a maximum of 12 meters long.
- Catalan Musclo: It is a type of mussel that is also cultivated in a pan. In fact, the cultivation that precedes the current system of rafts begins in the Mediterranean in the early years of the 20th century.
- Le Cozze in Italy: Mussel culture in Italy is done with the longline culture system or ropes with floating plastic buoys. These floats are connected thanks to horizontal lines holding vertical ropes where the mussels hang. In this way, the mollusks are constantly in the water.
- Finally the Moule de bouchot in France or cultivation on stakes: It is a French technique that dates back to the 13th century and consists of vertical wooden posts nailed in the intertidal zone around which ropes of coconut fibers are placed where they come to grip the mussels. In the middle of the rearing a net is added so that the mollusks do not unhook. This bouchot cultivation system is carried out especially in the north of France.
From Ecoplas we are collaborating with several French producers for the cultivation of mussels in France with compostable nets (filet de catinage).
It is mobilizing to support the professions in the sustainable development of their shellfish farming activities and therefore, at Ecoplas we are aware of the importance of such an alliance for our growth and international expansion.
In addition, France has become one of the most appetizing markets for organic food. And in this sense, Galicia has seen the opportunity to offer the CRAEGA seal through fresh and organic mussels, which gives added value to the product. There is still a long way to go because it represents only 1% of the Galician mussel that is marketed in the world, but thanks to the quality of the Galician waters, about 90% of the Galician mollusk could be certified.
The income generated in Galicia from the sale of millions of tons of this black pan gold represent about 95% of the mollusk production in Spain and, therefore, the social repercussion for the area is immense.
The Galician sentiment towards the sea means that they continue to invest to obtain the best quality in the Galician mussel, from its production to its distribution and marketing.