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Species Information

Blue Mussel

Mytilus galloprovincialis

Other Names
Black mussel, common mussel, mussel.

Family
Mytilidae (mussels).

Description, Location, Habitat and Harvesting Information
Available farmed, this marine-dwelling bivalve mollusc is found in intertidal waters to depths of around 20m, often in dense clumps, attached by coarse rope-like ‘beards’ to exposed reefs, rocks and jetty pylons, and was traditionally harvested by divers off southern NSW, Victoria, SA and southern WA. Aquaculture commenced in NSW in 1976, and now all Blue Mussels sold commercially are farmed. They are grown in southern NSW (around Eden), Victoria, Tasmania, SA and southern WA in clean, sheltered water 5-20m deep. The tiny immature Mussels (spat) are collected on ropes (mainly from the wild, although some are produced in hatcheries in Tasmania), raised in long ‘socks’ (to protect them from predators) suspended from horizontal ropes attached to buoys to keep them immersed (known as subtidal suspended culture) and harvested at 12-18 months. The dark (brown, grey, blue, purple or black), wedge-shaped shell with a bluish-white interior is easily distinguished from other bivalve molluscs such as Pipis and Cockles. They are the only commercial species of Mussel sold in quantity in Australia.

Season
Available year round.

Size and Weight
Average 6-9cm and 25-40g, but can grow to 12 or 13cm and 50g.

Price
Low priced.

Relations
Green Mussels, Clams, Cockles, Pipis and Vongole. Blue Mussels were previously known by two other Latin names: Mytilus edulis and Mytilus planulatus.

To Buy
Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Tiny crabs are sometimes found inside Mussels, they are harmless and do not indicate any problem with the Mussel.

To Store
Live shellfish should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with a damp cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the crisper (optimum 5ºC), ensuring that covering remains damp. Before cooking, discard any shells that are open and don’t close when tapped or gently squeezed (you may need to give them 10-20 minutes out of the fridge to warm up first). Freeze meat for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook
If Mussels are being served in the shell, remove beards (byssal threads) before cooking by holding shells firmly closed and sharply tugging beards away from the pointy end of the shell; if Mussels are being removed from shells, cook with beards attached, they are easy to pull off the cooked Mussels once they’re removed from their shells. Lightly scrub shells with a plastic scourer to remove any sediment or barnacles. Average yield is 30%. They have a rich, strong flavour, high oiliness and moist, juicy, medium-textured flesh. Remove from the heat as soon as they open, as they quickly shrivel and become chewy if over cooked. While traditional wisdom was to discard shells that don’t open when cooked, you can pry them open, away from the plate, and, if they smell good, eat them; if they’re bad, they’ll have a distinctly ‘off’ aroma. All of the flesh is edible, females tend to be more orange in colour, whereas males are paler.

Cooking Methods
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and stir-fries.

Goes Well With
Bacon, breadcrumbs, butter, chilli, coriander, fennel, garlic, herbs, lemon, lime, mayonnaise, olive oil, onion, parsley, pepper, Pernod, potatoes, saffron, tomato, white wine.

Alternatives
Pipis, Surf Clams, Vongole.

Imports
Green mussels (Perna canaliculus, also known as green-lipped mussels), imported frozen from New Zealand, are generally larger (averaging 11cm and 60g). They are partly cooked before being exported (to satisfy Australian quarantine requirements regarding the importation of live animals) and tend to go tough when recooked.

Recipes
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Further information

Can't find the information you're after?  Email  fishline@sydneyfishmarket.com.au with your questions.

Species Groups
Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list below.
Species List
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Albacore
Thunnus alalunga

Atlantic Salmon
Salmo salar

Australian Bass
Macquaria novemaculeata

Australian Salmon
Arripus trutta (Eastern Australian Salmon)
Arripus truttaceaus (Western Australian Salmon)

Australian Sardine
Sardinops neopilchardus

Bailer Shell
Livonia mamilla (False Bailer Shell)
Melo species (Melon Shell)
Other members of the Zidoninae subfamily (Bailer Shell)

Balmain Bug
Ibacus peronii (Eastern Balmain Bug)

Banana Prawn
Fenneropenaeus indicus (Redleg Banana Prawn)
Fenneropenaeus merguiensis (White Banana Prawn)

Barramundi
Lates calcarifer

Bay Prawn
Metapenaeus bennettae (Greentail Prawn)
Metapenaeus insolitus (Greasyback Prawn)

Bigeye Trevally
Caranx sexfasciatus

Bigeye Tuna
Thunnus obesus

Black Bream
Acanthopagrus butcheri

Black Pomfret
Parastromateus niger

Blacklip Abalone
Haliotis rubra

Blue Grenadier
Macruronus novaezelandiae

Blue Mackerel
Scomber australasicus

Blue Mussel
Mytilus galloprovincialis

Blue Swimmer Crab
Portunus pelagicus

Blue Warehou
Seriolella brama

Blue-Eye Trevalla
Hyperoglyphe antarctica (Blue-Eye Trevalla)
Schedophilus labyrinthica (Ocean Blue-Eye)

Bluespotted Flathead
Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus

Bonito
Australian Bonito (Sarda australis)
Oriental Bonito (Sarda orientalis)
Leaping Bonito (Cybiosarda elegans)

Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)

Salvelinus fontinalis


Chinook Salmon (‘King’ Salmon)

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha


Commercial Scallop
Pecten fumatus

Cuttlefish
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish)
Sepia pharaonis (Pharaoh’s Cuttlefish)

Dart
Trachinotus botla (Common Dart)
Trachinotus baillonii (Smallspotted Dart)
Trachinotus blochii (Snubnose Dart)
Trachinotus coppingeri (Swallowtail Dart)
Trachinotus anak (Giant Oystercracker Dart)

Deepwater Flathead
Neoplatycephalus conatus

Diamondscale Mullet
Liza vaigiensis

Dusky Flathead
Platycephalus fuscus

Eastern Rocklobster
Jasus verreauxi

Eastern Shovelnose Ray
Aptychotrema rostrata

Endeavour Prawn
Metapenaeus endeavouri (Blue Endeavour Prawn)
Metapenaeus ensis (Red Endeavour Prawn)

Frypan Bream
Argyrops spinifer

Giant Trevally
Caranx ignobilis

Goldband Snapper
Pristipomoides multidens (Goldband Snapper)
Pristipomoides typus (Sharptooth Snapper)

Golden Perch
Macquaria ambigua

Golden Trevally
Gnathanodon speciosus

Gould's Squid
Nototodarus gouldi

Greenlip Abalone
Haliotis laevigata

Grey Mackerel
Scomberomorus semifasciatus

Jack Mackerel
Trachurus declivis (Common Jack Mackerel)
Trachurus murphyi (Peruvian Jack Mackerel)

Jackass Morwong
Nemadactylus macropterus

John Dory
Zeus faber

King Dory
Cyttus traversi

King George Whiting
Sillaginodes punctata

King Prawn
Melicertus latisulcatus (Western King Prawn)
Melicertus plebejus (Eastern King Prawn)
Melicertus longistylus (Redspot King Prawn)

King Threadfin
Polydactylus macrochir

Loligo Squid
Loligo formosa
Loligo chinensis

Longtail Tuna
Thunnus tonggol

Marron
Cherax tenuimanus (Margaret River Marron)
Cherax cainii (Smooth Marron)

Mirror Dory
Zenopsis nebulosus

Moreton Bay Bug
Thenus orientalis (Sandbug)
Thenus indicus (Mudbug)

Mud Crab
Scylla serrata (Giant Mud Crab)
Scylla olivacea (Orange Mud Crab)

Murray Cod
Maccullochella peelii

Native Oyster
Ostrea angasi

Northern Calamari
Sepioteuthis lessoniana

Ocean Jacket
Nelusetta ayraudi

Octopus
Octopus aegina (Baby Octopus)
Octopus tetricus (Sydney Octopus)
Octopus australia (Southern Octopus)
Octopus maorum (Maori Octopus)
Octopus pallidus (Pale Octopus)
Octopus graptus (Scribbled Night Octopus)

Pacific Oyster
Crassostrea gigas

Periwinkle
Littorinidae species (‘True’ Periwinkle)
Neritidae species (Nerite) 
Turbo species (Turban Shells)

Pikey Bream
Acanthopagrus berda

Pink Ling
Genypterus blacodes

Pipi
Donax deltoides

Queenfish
Scomberoides tol (Needleskin Queenfish)
Scomberoides tala (Barred Queenfish)
Scomberoides lysan (Lesser Queenfish)
Scomberoides commersonnianus (Giant Queenfish)

Rainbow Trout ('Ocean Trout')

Oncorhynchus mykiss


Red Emperor
Lutjanus sebae

Redclaw
Cherax quadricarinatus

Redfish
Centroberyx affinis

Ribaldo
Mora moro

Rock Ling
Genypterus tigerinus

Royal Red Prawn
Haliporoides sibogae

Samsonfish
Seriola dumerili (Amberjack)
Seriola hippos (Samsonfish)

Sand Whiting
Sillago ciliata

Saucer Scallop
Amusium balloti (Ballot’s Saucer Scallop)
Amusium pleuronectes (Northern Saucer Scallop)

School Mackerel
Scomberomorus queenslandicus

School Prawn
Metapenaeus macleayi (School Prawn)
Metapenaeus dalli (Western School Prawn)

School Whiting
Sillago flindersi (Eastern School Whiting)
Sillago bassensis (Southern School Whiting)
Sillago robusta (Stout Whiting)

Sea Mullet
Mugil cephalus

Silver Dory
Cyttus australis

Silver Perch
Bidyanus bidyanus

Silver Trevally
Pseudocaranx dentex (Silver Trevally)
Pseudocaranx wrighti (Skipjack Trevally)

Silver Warehou
Seriolella punctata

Snapper
Pagrus auratus

Southern Bluefin Tuna
Thunnus maccoyii

Southern Calamari
Sepioteuthis australis

Southern Rocklobster
Jasus edwardsii

Southern Sand Flathead
Platycephalus bassensis

Spanish Mackerel
Scomberomorus commerson

Spanner Crab
Ranina ranina

Spotted Mackerel
Scomberomorus munroi

Striped Marlin
Tetrapturus audax

Surf Clam
Dosinia caerulea

Swordfish
Xiphias gladius

Sydney Rock Oyster
Saccostrea glomerata

Tarwhine
Rhabdosargus sarba

Tiger Flathead
Neoplatycephalus richardsoni (Tiger Flathead)
Neoplatycephalus aurimaculatus (Toothy Flathead)

Tiger Prawn
Penaeus monodon (Black Tiger Prawn)
Marsupenaeus japonicus (Kuruma Prawn)
Penaeus esculentus (Brown Tiger Prawn)
Penaeus semisulcatus (Grooved Tiger Prawn)

Trochus
Trochus niloticus

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