If preliminary research results prove right, deep-water mussel farming could become more widespread in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Right now, mussels are usually grown in shallow water, up to about five-meters deep, but the possibility of growing them in water up to 15-metres deep is being tested.
Researchers are looking at how the mussels handle stress in deep water while other tests are looking at how the mussels store and metabolize fat.
They hope to show that growing mussels in deeper, calmer waters works as well — and maybe even better than — growing them in shallow water that is disrupted by tides.
Lead scientist Harry Murray, who works at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in St. John's, said initially researchers believed mussels grew better in shallower water, but that may change.
"We found over this winter, mussels in the deeper water have actually caught up to [the mussels in shallow water]," he said.
The full results won't be in for another two years, but one part of the picture is already emerging.
Mussels are already farmed successfully in other parts of the world but the research into how the they respond to the two different environments is new.