The process of Mussel from Galicia cultivation is divided into several stages:
– SEED COLLECTION (mexilla): in thousands of rafts from Galicia, millions of male and female of cultivated mussel cast into the sea where fertilization occurs, giving rise to larvae that subsequently fixed to the rocks. So they will abundantly repopulate natural beds, ensuring a high level of genetic diversity of the population, with the resumption of the natural cycle.
In the months of December to April, bateeiros, risking their safety well-just like percebeiros-, jump over the rocks whipped the coast to collect the seed using scrapers. In addition, where ocean and general environmental conditions are favorable, the collection of mexilla also performed by collecting ropes specially designed to mussel larvae attach. The collector ropes hung on the raft in the months of March to June, spawning season, at which time the larvae that, over time, become mussel.
– STRING BINDERS: the seed of a size of 1-2 cm. It is carried to the raft or boat and proceed to the manufacture of “mexilla ropes”. The mexilla wraps over the rope with the help of a thin biodegradable rayon net, giving the mussel enough time to be on the rope embise. This operation is done manually or by machines specially designed for this purpose, the encordadoras.
– THE UNFOLDING: after 4 to 6 months at sea, when the mussel reaches 4.5 or 5.5 cm, it proceeds to the hoisting mexilla ropes. Due to the considerable weight gain mussel, the splitting of the ropes is necessary, that is, the preparation of new ropes of lower density. With this unfold mussel growth is facilitated in addition to prevent detachment of the ropes. For every “mexilla rope” they are obtained from two or three “unfold ropes” that are thrown into the sea to marketing.
– HARVEST AND SELECTION: After about a year, the mussel unfold reaches commercial size. The ropes are removed from the water with the help of the ship crane and hoisted. Once on deck, if the mussel is intended to be marketed fresh, the mussels are clean with plenty of seawater, proceed to your selection by size and finally introduced into plastic sacks, and ready for transfer to shippers centers. As for his crop to market for factory, cleaned mussels and lands bulk ship. It is then picked up by crane on the dock and placed on the truck towards the center of transformation.
The harvest season Mussel from Galicia depends, among other reasons, its destination. Thus, the mussels destined to processors is usually harvested in summer and destined for fresh consumption is preferably harvested during the autumn and winter.
Culture is therefore a totally natural process because the mussel efficiently exploits this wealth of nutrients that nature gave to Rías Galegas. And it is an example of sustainable activity because it is economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally friendly.
The traditional farming system in Galicia is the trough or “batea”, a native design which is the best performance known and makes Galicia the European leader in production. The batea is a floating nursery consisting of a eucalyptus wood lattice of roughly rectangular shape on which the strings are attached mussel and remains suspended by a system of floats.