Stocks of wild mussels form the basis of the bottom-culture aquaculture industry in Lough Foyle and Carlingford.
Mussel farmers rely on wild seed settling on the seabed. The seed mussels are gathered by dredging and taken to the farms where they are grown to a marketable size.
The last time that significant seed mussel stocks were recorded in Lough Foyle was 2009. Since then, vessels have had to travel from Lough Foyle and Carlingford to seed beds in the Irish Sea.
Studies are currently underway in Lough Foyle and other mussel growing areas to examine the factors controlling seed mussel settlement, such as spawning rates and larval supply.
What is the role of the Loughs Agency?
Loughs Agency monitors the seabeds in Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough annually to locate juvenile or seed mussels. We produce a stock assessment on these areas when seed mussels are discovered.