A different aspect of aquaculture is being explored in the New York City area and that is the farming of mussels to help filter the polluted waters in New York. A typical bivalve can efficiently filter over 20 gallons of water in a day and mussels can grow in much denser colonies. The long polluted waters of New York Harbor could be filtered using a combination of seaweed and oysters and mussels.
Not long ago, a boatful of shellfish researchers and I cruised downstream toward a most unlikely structure bobbing at the mouth of one of the most urban bodies of water on the planet.
The 20-foot by 25-foot form ahead of us was an experimental raft that scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had placed at the mouth of New York City’s Bronx River last spring. Hanging beneath it were long, sock-like tendrils that had been seeded with Geukensia demissa, commonly known as ribbed mussels. The point of the two-year experiment was to see whether mussels would survive or even thrive given the industrial and organic effluent that flows from the Bronx into the greater New York Harbor. If the mussels did in fact prosper in this environment, it could have implications for how we might help clean up coastal waters in various parts of the world.
The ribbed mussel was selected for the New York City experiment because of its adaptability.
The idea of using bivalves like mussels, oysters, and clams to purify waterways has been on the minds of conservationists and scientists for decades. Perhaps because of a romantic nostalgia for the lost, billion-strong oyster colonies that once girded the coasts of the eastern U.S., millions of dollars have been put into oyster restoration projects, to mixed effect. But as mussel aquaculture grows in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, businessmen and scientists are increasingly considering the mussel, both as a way to produce a commercial product and to explore their potential as water filterers. Click this link to finish reading How Mussel Farming Could Help to Clean Fouled Waters.
An economic benefit would be that these mussels could be harvested and used for fish food in other aquafarming operations. The common mussel has many strong points and among them are great resiliency to disease and catastrophic climactic events such as hurricanes. Here is to clean water in New Your Harbor again.