Seed Mussel Stock Surveys

We are continually monitoring the mussel beds around the Irish coast to assist industry with the sustainable management of the resource. 

Project Information Project Information

Project Aim

Locate and quantify subtidal seed mussel beds around the Irish Coast prior to relaying in growing areas. The survey results are used to create seasonal reports providing details on the geographical extent of the beds, the conditions of the seed (size, density distribution within the beds and predation) and biomass estimates. The data collected during those surveys also feed into the assessment of potential alien invasive species.

Our Methods

The survey work is carried out using our purpose built inshore survey vessel, the MV T. BURKE II; a 12 m catamaran kitted with a full range of survey equipment including: 4125 Edgetech dual frequency (400kHz/900kHz) side scan sonar, underwater cameras including a Video Ray PRO 4 mini ROV, dredges, and a Day grab (0.1 m2 footprint). Biomass estimations are calculated using a combination of the acoustic data from the side scan sonar and in-situ density sampling using the grab. The data is then analysed and interpolated in ArcGIS which provide density maps and biomass figures.

In addition to the biomass estimation works, we also aim to understand the dynamics of the subtidal mussel population by looking into mussel larvae distribution using planktonic samples provided by local operators, mussel husbandry condition index, temperature and salinity monitoring, and also a fleet of GPS tracking drifter (Microstar) from Pacific Gyre.

The survey vessel can also provide other aquaculture/ inshore fisheries related services (production site surveys, missing gear surveys, gear trials surveys, diving operations and underwater inspections, Search and Recovery).


Seeing the Benefits

The Irish Bottom Grown Mussel industry is provided with real time and robust information on the location and the availability of biomass which assist them in sourcing juvenile mussels for their farm and also reducing their searching time.

The results of our survey work also inform the mussel fishery regulation designed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, ensuring sustainable management of the resource.

Visit to view in pictures the latest seed mussel survey evolution on the South East Coast

Read more about our seed mussel stock surveys visit our publication area.


The Shellfish survey project is part funded through the Knowledge Gateway Scheme which is established under Union Priority 2 of Ireland’s Operational Programme under the EMFF and is co-funded by the Irish Government and the EU.

For More Information

Inshore Survey Officer

Nicolas Chopin