The objectives are to secure a reliable supply of blue mussel seed and to develop techniques allowing farmers to market blue mussels year round. A problem blue mussel producers face is the unpredictability seed supply. Seed is mostly harvested from suspended substrates or mussel beds. The amounts of wild seed available are extremely variable from year to year. A reliable supply of seed from hatchery sources will allow mussel farmers to overcome this. A second problem is that recently spawned mussels cannot be sold due to insufficient meat content. Producers will benefit greatly from a hatchery-based technique, such as triploid induction, that produces non-maturing mussels that can be marketed year round. Mussel farmers and sellers, a network for training and technology transfer, universities and research institutes will collaborate in five workpackages. Internal project management will be taken care of in Workpackage 1. Workpackage 2 will give attention to broodstock conditioning and larval rearing. Workpackage 3 will deal with production of triploid larvae and tetraploid broodstock. Workpackage 4 will concentrate on spat settlement and on rearing of diploid and triploid spat to seed size. Workpackage 5 will compare the allowed costs of hatchery produced seed with conventional wild-caught seed. In addition, knowledge transfer between RTDs and SMEs and the dissemination and exploitation of results outside the consortium will be ensured. Considering the normal 2 to 3 year production cycle for blue mussel in Europe, the focus of the project will be on spat and seed production. The project outcomes will include a reliable method to produce triploid seed, allowing year-round production of high quality mussels, protocols for spat and seed production, and an analysis of the economic feasibility of the new techniques developed. Project results will be communicated within the consortium and to end-users, through workshops, meetings with producer associations and a website.
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