Do you know what it takes to put mussels on your plate, while keeping plenty in the sea, forever?
The beautiful and pristine waters of the Shetland Islands are home to the mussel fisheries of the Thomason brothers and the Pottinger's.
The initial setup of a rope-grown mussel fishery can take up to three years, with fishermen first putting down mussel collector ropes. They hope that spat (baby mussels) will attach and grow during this time. If they have, then after two-three years in the water the mussels are ready to be harvested.
Once carefully hauled and taken off the ropes, the washed mussels are sorted and graded. The grading process allows the fishermen to make sure the young ones are put back in the sea - later to be re-attached onto the lines to grow to a mature size. Those that are big enough are harvested and eventually make their way to your plate.
Christopher and Marvin Thomason, mussel harvesters, Shetland Islands
“The sea is on loan and we’ll hand it back as we found it, so that it'll always be here for our children.”The Thomason mussel fishery
What does it take to harvest sustainable mussels?
To learn more about what it takes to put MSC certified mussels on your plate, read our fishermen’s stories below and watch a day in the life of the Thomason brothers, harvesting mussels on Shetland's pristine waters.
Sustainably harvesting mussels in Shetland’s pristine waters
Karen Attwood is an award-winning writer and journalist with 20 years' experience. Read about her visit to the Shetland Islands mussel fishery and just how important it is to the community.
See what it takes
Choosing the MSC ecolabel means your seafood is certified as sustainable and traceable.