Mussel Seed Collector
As summer progresses, the mussel seed grows rapidly on the lines and by August they’re about 2 centimeters in length. The density at which they settled on the line is so great that the mussels will need to be thinned out to allow for quicker and more uniform growth.
Left - A heavily set Penn Cove Mussel seed collector which needs to be stripped and thinned out into mussel socks so the mussels can grow more quickly and to a uniform size.
Starting in late summer the thinning process begins. Each one of the thousands of seed collector lines is pulled up and stripped bare on to the deck of our seed barge.
The seed mussels are then fed onto a conveyor which feeds a "socking" machine or a group of socking tables. During this phase our Disc-Net-Line System is used to transplant the mussel seed onto re-usable plastic lines at a density of about 150 mussels per foot of line. Each seed line will yield between 2 to 3 mussel harvest lines, with each line of mussels about 7 meters long.
Left - A transplanted Disc-Net-Line left three weeks after transplant where the cotton sock has naturally began to dissolve.
Once filled, each sock is hung from a mussel raft where they will stay and grow until reaching harvest size. The seed mussels in the sock put out byssal threads attaching themselves to the sock and one another and eventually grow through the mesh of the sock and form a solid column of mussels once fully grown. Each harvest-ready sock may weigh upwards of 100 pounds which is around 11 to 12 months after the mussel seed was first collected.
Mussels growing out through the cotton mussel sock and being supported along the sock with our "Mussel Discs" which help support the weight of the mussels on the sock as they grow.
For more information about the Mussel Discs, click on the link to our Mussel Disc page.