An aquaculture company has teamed with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to research a way to make better mussels in Notre Dame Bay.

DFO has partnered with NorAtlantic Processors on the three-year project of farming mussels 15 metres below the surface of the water.


Harold Murray says the research so far shows that mussels farmed in deeper depths are just as healthy as shallow-water mussels. (CBC)

Dr. Harry Murray, the project leader, said researchers are trying to find out if it will be possible to farm viable mussels in the deeper water rather than shallow areas.

"Deep water offers a much more stable environment," Murray said.

"So the idea is to try and compare and decide as to what might be a reliable depth to grow mussels in deeper water."

According to Murray, the results are good so far.

"The quality of the mussels will be improved, the health of the mussels will be improved, the mussels will be happier — it's the perfect place to grow mussels," he said.

Terry Mills, head of NorAtlantic Processors, said the company has been experimenting with deep-water mussel farming for years, but needed the credibility of scientific data to back up the results.

"We just needed to know if it was actually, from a science point of view, was this a practical venture to proceed with," he said.

Mills said that with mussel farming on the rise in Newfoundland, it is only a matter of time before farmers run out of shallow areas, and he wants to be ahead of the competition when other companies start looking for new ways to farm mussels.