In 1996 diving in a bay near Saltspring Island, we discovered a variety of Mytilus mussel species also known as gallo provincialis or "Mediterranean Mussels" or "Gallo Mussels". These mussels were previously unknown in British Columbia waters.
After a year of government research, we received the first aquaculture licence to grow this mussel. In 1998, we built a small hatchery on Saltspring Island, collected brood-stock, and researched spawning, nursery and grow-out techniques.
Our hatchery is very unique as it produces its own seed, whereas almost all mussel farms collect wild seed. Island Sea Farms is the only dedicated commercial mussel hatchery in the world.
In 2005, our hatchery team created a hybrid of the "Gallo" or Mediterranean ("Med") Mussel with the Atlantic Blue or "PEI Mussel". This new hybrid has the best characteristics of both varieties and its beautiful shell colours range from deep blue-black to almost golden.
Today, Island Sea Farms has its hatchery and nursery operations on Saltspring Island. As we've grown, we have expanded our farm operations to the exquisite Island of Cortes in the heart of Desolation Sound.
Experience is critical on the farm. Our operations manager is a fourth generation islander and has been involved in the shellfish industry all her life. Our assistant manager is a member of the Klahoose, the local First Nation whose territorial lands we are honoured to operate within. These managers have adopted cutting edge technology from all over the world with an eye to efficiency, safety and respect for the environment.
University of Vancouver Island research on the environmental impact of our farm has been overwhelmingly positive. Our rafts and deep-water mussel lines provide extensive nurseries for a myriad of juvenile fish and non-target invertebrates.
Saltspring Island Mussels are Vancouver Aquarium "Ocean Wise" certified. Mussel farming is also endorsed by environmental groups such as the Audubon Society, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and Edo-Fish.