Authors: Izaskun Zorita, Leire Arantzamendi, Unai Aldalur, Manuel González, Ainhoa Juez, Inma Martín, José Germán Rodríguez, Naiara Serrano, Oihana Solaun
Content: Mussel farming is an emerging activity in the Basque coast. The experiences of mussel (Mytilus spp.) culture carried out in long-lines in the coastal zone of Mendexa, between Ondarroa and Lekeitio (Southeastern Bay of Biscay), have been promising. However, some basic aspects of the biology of mussels cultured in offshore conditions are not yet well understood and are highly relevant for the development of an aquaculture sector in the Basque Country. The present work gathers protocols for the evaluation of the reproductive cycle, larval settlement and recruitment patterns, condition index and mussel flesh/meat yield. These protocols are shown in detail and profusely illustrated and are made available to the aquaculture sector and the general public. The information obtained through the application of these protocols will be useful to establish spawning periods, to determine the capacity for mussel seed gathering using collector ropes and to identify optimum periods for harvesting. All these are relevant issues for mussel production and commercialization. These protocols may contribute to the development of mussel farming in the Basque coast; moreover, they can be applied in any other zones where mussel culture can take place.