Mussel in the Menai Strait (east) Regulating Order, mussel dredge
- Content last updated
- 22 February 2017
- Mussel in the Menai Strait (east)
- Menai Strait Fishery Order Management Association (MSFOMA)
- Stock Status
Mussel stocks in the Menai Strait east have been scored a moderate risk. The species’ vulnerability is described as moderate on sea-life base (www.sealifebase.org) and, because recruitment of young mussels is variable, population trends are highly variable between locations and years. However, stocks are managed by the holder of the Regulating Order, the Menai Strait Fishery Order Management Association. Within this Regulating Order private operators of seabed ‘lays’ cultivate mussels on leased areas of seabed. Management is aimed enabling private companies to cultivate mussels commercially and at complying with the conservation objectives for European Marine Sites so measures are introduced to protect them (see Management and Habitats sections).
The management of mussel stocks in Menai Strait east has been scored a low risk. The Menai Strait Fishery Order Management Association (MSFOMA) as grantee of the Regulating Order is empowered to manage the cultivation and wild harvest of mussels in the Menai Strait. The management of individual mussel beds is undertaken by the private companies which are responsible for bringing in seed mussels, relaying them on their private lays and harvesting the fully grown mussels. There is a code of practice covering all these activities. Parts of the Regulating Order are designated European Marine Sites and management has to comply with the conservation objectives of the sites and Natural Resources Wales is a partner in MSFOMA providing a basis for compliance. There is a small hand picking fishery which is also managed under the Regulating Order.
The bycatch risk for mussel dredging in Menai Strait (east) has been assessed as low. Mussels are dredged using relatively light dredges from vessels, towed for short periods. The catch is riddled on deck and bycatch, mostly undersized mussels, is returned to the sea. Although other species live on the mussel beds there are no examples of these species being dependent on the mussel beds so the removal of the mussel beds will not have consequences for these species. Also mussels do not depend on other species in terms of food web or other ecological interactions, removal of associated species will have very little effect on the mussels Other interactions are the subject of risk assessments under conservation legislation.
The seabed effects for mussel dredging in Menai Strait (east) have been scored a moderate risk. Although mussel beds are considered to be habitats of high conservation importance, there is improving understanding of the resilience of these habitats to manage them within the Regulating Order fisheries.