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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 08:01 GMT
Scientists study mussel production
Scientists are to compare the best way to grow mussels in the straits
A science conference at the University of Wales, Bangor, this week aims to find the most sustainable way of growing mussels in the Menai Straits.

The straits are home to the UK's main mussel fishery, accounting for about 70% of its total production.

The straits mussel industry is important to the local economy with an annual turnover of over 3m.

Marine scientists meet at the School of Ocean Sciences to compare notes on sustainable mussel cultivation.

Academics at the school have carried out a series of experiments in the straits with the aim of developing computer models, which can be used by the industry.

The want to ensure that the mussels are grown in the most efficient way possible, whilst protecting the local ecosystems found in the Straits.

This week's meeting, funded by the EU, brings together scientists from across Europe to compare the results of experiments in the Menai Straits with those carried out in other mussel producing areas in Europe.

These include the Oosterschelde in the Netherlands, the Ria de Vigo in Spain and Limfjorden in Denmark.

Dr Tom Rippeth of the School of Ocean Sciences said: "Through comparing and contrasting management of mussel beds in areas with very different conditions, such as the strongly tidal Menai Strait and the almost tideless Limfjorden, we are able to understand more about the interactions between physical and biological processes which control the mussel growth."

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