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Kate Casey

By the year 2010, Chile will most likely be harvesting 160 thousand tons annually of the country’s native blue mussel. This level of production should rank Chile as the third largest producer of mussels in the world, following behind Spain and China. Chile is currently ranked as the world’s sixth. According to an article published in this week’s Visión Acuícola, the national mussel industry aims to reach the same rapid success as the salmon industry, by becoming a world leader in only 20 years. Within the last ten years the annual mussel harvest has increased from 6 thousand to nearly 100 thousand tons, of which 97% come from farm sites in the 10th region, especially around the island of Chiloé. “In order to reach number three, Chile must put more dedication into investigation and seed selection,” states Dr. Jorge Navarro, marine biologist and professor from the Universidad Austral, Valdivia. “It is imperative for the sustainability of the [mussel] industry that the farm sites are able to produce large volumes of high quality seeds. The quality of the seeds is extremely important to assure good growth rates and low mortality rates,” explains Navarro. To produce good and plentiful seeds, a farm sites must work together in effort s to the capture seeds, to assure the availability of seeds for the growing number of mussel farms appearing on the horizon.