Lots of people around the world love eating seafood! Unfortunately, some fishing practices harm seafloor habitats. Is there a way to enjoy resources from the ocean and help the environment at the same time? Mussels are a kind of shellfish that can be farmed at sea and collected for food. They grow in clumps, which may attract other animals looking for food and shelter. We wondered if building an offshore mussel farm could help restore ocean habitats damaged by years of harmful fishing practices.
We used underwater videos to investigate how the number and type of animals found inside and outside a mussel farm changed over four years. We found that the areas inside the farm contained more mussels than areas outside. There were also more fish and seafood (such as lobster and crab) inside the farm than outside. Our findings show that offshore mussel farms may revitalize damaged ocean habitats. They also benefit humans and other marine animals.