Life, in the beginning, starts at Yumbah’s purpose-built hatchery. Our biologists select prime broodstock from our hatchery-raised production to spawn. Eggs fertilised by sperm hatch twenty-four hours later, producing beautiful free-swimming larval mussels called trochophore larvae.
Larvae are steadily fed a formulated diet of various algae to encourage growth and maturation. As the larvae continues to grow, the strongest are transferred and re-settled to new tanks in our nursery.
After 3-4 weeks in our nursery, the trochophore larvae have grown to approximately 0.5mm to 1mm in size and metamorphosized into microscopic mussels (or spat). These mussels settle onto ropes in the nursery tanks and become ready for ocean deployment.
Once the spat has settled on the rope and grown to approximately 1.5mm, they are removed from the nursery and carefully transported to the pristine waters off the coast of Mount Martha.
While in the ocean, mussels continue to grow by filter-feeding plankton. If all goes well these mussels will be ready for thinning and re-seeding in three to four months. The thinning and re-seeding process removes mussels from the hatchery ropes and re-settles them on grow-out ropes. Grow-out ropes are less densely populated and allow more room for mussel growth.
After the re-seeding process has been completed, mussels are left to grow for an additional six to eight months. This time frame will depend on the seasonal conditions. Influences such as temperatures, tides, and plankton will affect the growth rates of mussels.
Our team continuously monitors the grow-out ropes to ensure mussels are harvested at the perfect time. Smaller mussels will be re-seeded onto new grow-out ropes and given extra time to feed.
Once our experienced team has determined mussels have reached the perfect size and meat to shell ratio, we remove grow out ropes from the water. We then carefully strip mussels from the rope and separate into individual mussels. These individual mussels are then washed with high pressure seawater, visually sorted (to remove any mussels with cracked or broken shells) and placed into large bags. These bags are then covered in ice to keep mussels cool and fresh.
These large bags of fresh, live mussels are then brought ashore to our mooring dock in Mount Martha, where they are loaded onto refrigerated trucks and promptly transported to our Mornington processing facility.
Grading and Packing
Once received into our Mornington processing facility, mussels are further washed, de-bearded, and regraded. We use a combination of automated machinery and visual grading to ensure only the best quality mussels make it through our stringent quality control process.
Once mussels have been given the all-clear by our quality control team, they are packed into a variety of package types and sent to our discerning customers both in Australia and around the world.