Fish and Seafood, Green Living

Mussels are Good for You and the Environment

Eating Mussels is Good for You and the Environment
Eating mussels and other shellfish is good for you and the environment

You hear a lot about super foods, those fruits and vegetables that are nutritional powerhouses, but what if I told you that mussels are one of those healthy and nutritious foods with the added bonus that they’re good for the environment. I mean, really good for the environment. Plus mussels are produced in our (my) region.

That’s my kind of super food: local, environmentally-friendly, sustainable, nutritious and tasty. Even better, mussels are reasonably priced and available in almost every grocery store.

What’s so great about mussels?

  • Mussels, along with clams, oysters and scallops, are filter feeders, meaning they feed off particulate in the water where they grow, cleaning it along the way. Because of this, mussel farming ends up having a positive impact on the environment.
  • An oyster can filter 20 to 30 gallons of water a day and although a mussel filters less water they grow more densely so overall a column of mussels filters a massive amount of water.
  • Farmed mussels rarely “escape” so don’t threaten wild species.
  • Farmed mussels are disease resistant so don’t need antibiotics or other chemical treatment like farmed fish.
  • Mussels don’t require feed since they’re filter feeders. They draw food from their aquatic environment.
These benefits, along with sustainable farming practices used in Canadian mussel aquaculture, mean that mussels receive a Best Choice rating from SeaChoice, a Canadian sustainable seafood program.
PEI is the Canada’s major mussel farming region and the blue mussel that is farmed on the Island is native to PEI waters. That proximity means that where I live (Southern New Brunswick) we have easy access to fresh mussels at a good price.
With mussels, there are even more reasons to eat local.

Are you new to cooking with mussels? Try this recipe for Coconut & Sweet Chili Steamed Mussels with Lentils


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