Once upon a time mussels were everywhere, banks of mussels were a common
marine sight in all tidal waters and the seas were then as clear as crystal.
Today Mussel numbers are at dramatic lows and barren areas have multiplied.
It seems present lifestyle has no use for Mussels which are often 'cleaned off' for
Each year the situation gets worse and Mussels,already at a point of no return
have become undervalued due to a lack of education or interest which masks the
enormous contribution the simple Mussel has to offer us especially at this moment
in time, a moment of desperation for the Mussels and desperation in the state of
our estuaries and Seas.
Here are the facts:
A single Mussel will filter 30 litres of water per day.
A single post colony of Mussels would number 800/1000 Mussels. That means it
could filter about 25,000 litres per day.
A typical bank of 1000 posts would have the capacity to filter a staggering 25
million litres of toxic water per day during a life span of 20+ years.
A program must be adopted to identify and re bed all possible wild mussel growing
areas, not for human consumption but for cleaning the sea which means they can
be grown outside farming and public harvesting environments, almost anywhere.
A new bed of mussels would become fully effective after 2 years and after 3 years
a single post stuck in a mud bank would become bigger and increase rather than
decrease it's ongoing capacity continually cleaning thousands of litres of water
24/7 and completely free of charge.
In the Thames estuary alone there are hundreds of possible sites giving a potential
cleaning capacity of billions of liters of tidal water filtered and cleaned 24/7.
The last time the river Thames was clear and clean was when the Romans arrived
when clean tidal waters were all the way down to Southend north and Margate
south,completely covered in mussel banks, now there are non.
A fast track, simple, natural and visible solution such as an immediate re seeding of
mussel beds should be of interest to many varied organizations and sponsors
coming together to help the sea cure and clean itself and with no need for
specialized machinery, chemicals, technical and legal debates or large budgets.
Each Mussel bank could be in sponsors colors, logo or colour.
This program could be started quickly with the first mussel banks planted within a
Mussels are the seas natural cleaners, all they need is a new broom.
The areas planted with mussels can be monitored and measured. Results will be
seen within 2 years, which is a relatively short period, positive results will inevitably
create further sponsor activity leading to National and World wide interest.
Posts. The perfect posts would be disused telegraph poles or anything similar.
Post anchor feet. Made in precast concrete to specific design.
Fleet. 1 Motorized Barge with small crane ability. 2 Personnel launches. 1 Zodiac.
Manpower. 2 Boatmen. 2 Handlers. 1 Engineer/Overseer.
Disused quayside loading base anywhere. 2 loading personnel.
Project office: 1 Radio communication person. 2 reception and office personnel.
Depending entirely on tidal and river conditions a team as described above could
plant an average of 24 posts per day in a single shift or up to 750 per month with a
target of 10,000 posts planted in one year as the team gets better at it.
Basic Set up cost estimated at up to £100,000.
With a close cooperation with the PLA and the DENR the program first year costs
would not exceed £1 million.
Therefor the cost of seeding each post would be less than £100.
Taking as an example an average sized Mussel bank of 500 posts would require
sponsorship to a total of only £50,000. to break even.
As a non profit program anything over break even would be used to finance a
second or third team.
The FREE gift.
A lot of Micro plastic is found at shallow depths in the mud.
Cockles do the exact same cleaning job as do the Mussels. Whilst their capacity is
far less than a mussel a cockle will filter a square meter of bottom mud a week.
Therefor cockle bed seeding done at the base of each post has a zero cost and
will enhance the state of estuary mud cleaning by another 12%. Oysters too can be
seeded in the less muddy areas adding a further cleaning effect.