Mussel farmers speed up shipments to Italy to dedicate themselves to breeding

Mussel shipments to fresh market (treatment plants) in France and Italy have multiplied in recent days, despite the fact that not too much product of a good size remains on the ropes of the trays and its quality is not as remarkable as on other occasions either. But the customers they continue to claim mollusk and the bateeiros want to get rid of as much as they can to focus fully on the breeding campaign that begins today and, at the expense of possible future extensions, It will run until June 15.

It’s about the popular Cheek Season, that It should have started on December 1 – to end on April 30 – and that it will certainly be complicated in these first days, since the weather conditions are lousy.

It is for this reason, and many other reasons, that this seed season can be defined as all an unknown, being many doubts that assail the mussels that they must collect the calf necessary to string their rafts and prepare the next crop cycle.

Mussel unloading in the port of A Illa, yesterday. M. Mendez

The bateeiros themselves declare that “time is not good, that’s why these first days are going to be lazy and we will focus on inspecting the coast, looking for the best breeding areas”.


An inspection of the coastline that many have been carrying out for weeks, which is why they are in a position to say that “perhaps we will have areas with more breeding than last year, but it is small and nobody knows what can happen to it due to the existence of so much fresh water in the estuaries”.

Those who think so add that “perhaps we are going to spoil a lot, since the cheek is very weak due to the low salinity, and chances are it’s going to come off as soon as we hang it on the ropes.”especially in the interior rafts, where the amount of fresh water is greater.

Mussel unloaded in Vilanova, ready for transfer to France and Italy, yesterday. M. Mendez

Which is why there are producers who are wary of the date chosen to start this breeding season, since “it would have even been better to wait another month”which is something that the leaders of the sector themselves ruled out.

For efficient use

An added problem, that of fresh water, in which The Consellería do Mar already emphasized days ago, when he recalled that the drop in salinity “weakens the cheek and can make it difficult to fix urging the sector, for its own benefit, to carry out “an efficient use of the seed”.


“War of the cheek”: the bateeiros corner the conselleiras
Manuel Mendez

Other bateiros insist that breeding is “too small” and that “there are areas that are completely peeled”.

They sing the mea culpa

Among them, however, there are also those who sing the mea culpa, declaring that “We want to sell so much and so fast that we have less and less patience and we remove the mussel before its time, despite the fact that by doing so what we achieve is that there is less spawning and therefore fewer larvae in the water.”


This is how the Arousa bateiros harvest cheek

There are also those who predict that “some barnacles and certain brotherhoods They are going to continue insisting on their plan to try to expel us from the stones of the coast and do business on our account”.

A sector pending the “dry” and the closed season

FARO DE VIGO already explained last month, when it detailed the advantages and disadvantages of spring tides forecast for this year, which In estuaries like Arousa, the maximum live equinoctial low tide will be around on days like the one on the 23rd and the 20th of February, situating the water level at 0.20 meters above the line of low tide heeling.

It will be on the 21st of next month when one of the most important “dry seasons” of the year is recorded, with a height of only 0.10 meters at about eleven o’clock in the morning, which will favor the work of the bateeiros focused on the collection of seed in the rocks of the coast.

It can now be remembered that These important dry spells will be repeated between ten and eleven in the morning on March 21, 22 and 23, which are also workable and, therefore, propitious to go to the breeding, if the weather is good.


The bateiros string cheek

The following dry periods of consideration will arrive in August, specifically on the 4th and 31st, but by then the cheek collection campaign will already be over, given that the sector itself rejected the removal of the ban at the time.

Reason why some bateeiros insisted yesterday on the need to reconsider this position and allow breeding to be taken at any time of the year.

They defend it that way because they know that the Consellería do Mar is for the work and they are fully convinced that this will also help to stagger production.

They hope that some closed areas will be returned to them soon

A year ago the Consellería do Mar closed 17% of the Galician coastline and prohibited collecting mussel hatchlings in that space, which angered the bateeiros and gave rise to some of the most serious episodes of the so-called “war of the cheek” traditionally led by mussels and barnacles.

Given the possibility that these limitations may continue, the mussel farmers threatened with a strong pressure campaign that will be accentuated as the municipal elections approach.

Perhaps for this reason, last November the General Director of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Innovation, Antonio Basanta, declared in Parliament’s 8th Fisheries and Shellfish Commission that the Xunta is willing to “make the extraction areas more flexible” for farming.

That is left the doors open to return to the bateeiros some of the areas that they had been “taken away”.

And that change of stance was one of the reasons why the opening of the collecting campaign was postponed until today, which should have started on December 1st.

That is why the bateiros they want to make it clear that they do not forget the promises made and hope that sooner rather than later the Consellería do Mar gives them new work areas.

Mussel farmers speed up shipments to Italy to dedicate themselves to breeding