Edible Mexican mussel growing in Estonian bay

Mussel Rangia cuneata, or Atlantic rangia, also known as wedge clam.
Mussel Rangia cuneata, or Atlantic rangia, also known as wedge clam. Source: serc_biodiversity/(CC BY 2.0)

A shellfish native to the Gulf of Mexico has been found growing in Muuga Bay, close to Tallinn.

The shellfish is known as Rangia cuneata, Atlantic rangia or wedge clam and was first found in the Gulf of Finland in 2019.

It has now expanded its grounds and can be found in the Port of Muuga, said Jonne Kotta, project manager of the ADRIENNE project at the Estonian Maritime Institute at the University of Tartu.

"The range of this mussel began to expand rapidly during the last hot summer, and its distribution along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Narva has been explosive," said Kotta. 

Future research will show whether it will benefit or disrupt local marine life, he added.

"It could be a new and valuable source of protein in our waters, and harvesting it would also allow the species to be controlled. Mussels generally live in clean sand and in such shallow water that they can be harvested by hand. There is no risk to the environment," Kotta said.

The ADRIENNE project studies the Gulf of Finland and was launched three years ago. It is a joint project between Estonian, Russian and Finnish researchers.

It seeks to overcome issues, such as data fragmentation and differences in research and evaluation methods, that have hampered progress in improving the situation in the Gulf of Finland.

It is funded by the EU's Estonian-Russian cross-border cooperation program and ends in March 2022.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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