The Mussel Farms are located in Big Glory Bay, about 10 km south
of the township of Halfmoon Bay (Oban) on Stewart Island.
Infant mussels are brought in from northern New Zealand (as the
cooler waters don't allowing mussel hatching). The young spat are
scooped from the sea on a particular type of seaweed, and bagged
in 10 kg lots. The bags are iced down and transported south.
The bags of spat are brought out to the mussel farm. Hairy ropes
are passed through a machine. The mussel spat are poured in
measured quantities over the rope as it passes through at one end,
and a cotton stocking is pulled tightly over, keeping the mussels
in place until they attach themselves. The ropes are attached to
the buoys, and then lowered into the sea.
The mussel spat grow for 6 to 9 months before being "thinned" -
pretty much as a gardener will thin vegetable plants like carrots.
They are then left to continue growing for another 18 months
before being harvested.
Harvesting takes place throughout the year, and happens
twice each week, producing an average 50 tonnes of mussel per
week. The cool and very clean waters, contibutes to providing
a quality seafood product. Most of the mussels are sent
to overseas destinations, predominantly USA and Europe
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