How to Farm Mussels

Farming mussels for your own consumption requires little skill.
Farming mussels for your own consumption requires little skill. (Image: pot of mussels image by green308 from

Growing salt water mussels for personal consumption requires access to a suitable marine environment. A calm tidal bay near the coast, away from storm water runoff is ideal.The easiest method to grow and harvest mussels is with a rope hung from a surface buoy, which is fastened to cement boat mooring at the bottom of a bay. Mussel farming doesn't require much skill, just patience, while you wait for your mussels to mature.

Things You'll Need

  • Small boat
  • Heavy duty marine boat rope
  • Cement mooring block
  • Plastic buoy
  • Cotton "mussel sock"
  • Snorkel or diving gear
  • Seed mussels

Determine location of growing area and your authority to use it. The area should be an isolated, unpolluted tidal bay or cove, away from storm runoff. Make sure the water is deep enough. You will need a minimum of 12 feet of water at low tide from surface to bottom of bay for a rope to hang from a buoy to a mooring.

Visit a full service marine supply store to secure necessary equipment and locate a mussel farm to purchase seed mussels and "mussel sock." It is best to secure your location before buying supplies, especially the length of rope, and seed mussels, which you will want to "plant" as soon as possible after purchasing.

Take boat out to location with equipment and seed mussels. Anchor securely.

Lift mooring off boat, and drop to bottom of location.

Dive off boat to determine if mooring landed upright at bottom of bay. Adjust to upright position if necessary.

Return to boat, and attach buoy to rope.

Trim cotton "sock" to length desired if necessary. Fill the "sock" with desired amount of seed mussels and tie off at top. Attach "sock" to rope beginning three feet from buoy. Wind "sock" around the rope and firmly secure at the bottom.

Return to the water with buoy and rope with attached "sock" full of mussels. Dive and secure end of rope to mooring block on the bottom of bay.

Return to boat. It takes a year for mussels to fully mature. Check your "sock" periodically, to make certain the shellfish are intact and growing.

Return to your "farming" location after a year, and remove "sock" from the rope. You should have fully matured mussels, ready for food preparation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Affix waterproof laminated name tags with your contact information on buoy and sock. This guarantees you will be notified by the appropriate marine authorities if there is a problem.
  • Some coastal communities in the United States may require a permit for non-commercial mussel farming.
  • Mussel seeds used for farming your mussels should be indigenous to your region's coastal waters. Blue tipped mussels are the most common variety in the United States.


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