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The Mussel and Oyster of Olbia

Mussel farming and oyster farming are farms in “Extensive aquaculture”, a form of aquaculture entirely based on the use of natural resources. Mussel and oyster farming has taken place since 1920 in three macro areas of the Gulf of Olbia: Cala saccaia , Seno Cocciani, Sa Marinedda. Mussel farming, in particular, is considered among those with a long Italian tradition, after those of Taranto, La Spezia and Trieste. This is illustrated by a large bibliography, including: – “The mussel industry in Olbia (Sardinia) – Geographic and economic investigation” by Benito Spano (1952), which reported “the importance of one of the best farms, the Gulf of Olbia ”.-“ Memories of Economic Geography ”by Alberto Mori and Benito Spano on“ The ports of Sardinia ”(1952), from which we mention, with regard to the port of Olbia, that“ goods of various kinds were loaded, including fish products various (especially mussels), mainly Rome and Naples. ”Oyster farming, although it also started in the 20s of the last century, has developed in fits and starts and has only resumed its full operation for a decade. ‘breeding takes place in suspension: the pergolas (bunches) of mussels and the lanterns with oysters are hung vertically to a series of rows, about 8 meters apart, consisting of double ropes anchored to the bottom and supported by floating buoys; the distance between the buoys is about 5 meters and is called “ventia”.


While fishing / gathering from natural banks, as mentioned, has a very long historical tradition, the cultivation / breeding of molluscs of the various species of bivalve molluscs of the Veneridi family, at national level, is a very recent activity (started around 1983) and not yet fully standardized in the various production realities. This activity is strongly linked to the environment where it is carried out, in relation to the particular chemical-physical and sedimentological characteristics.

Even in the Gulf of Olbia, for over a century the collection of natural species is active mainly from two species: the Tapes decussatus or Arsella / Vongola verace and the Venus Verrucosa or Tartufo di mare. Today the Consortium has about 50 hectares used for the production of these species, by repopulation with young specimens, selection during harvesting that favors natural reproduction. Both species prefer sandy bottoms, muddy and rich in debris, in which they sink by breathing through special “siphons” and, simply by filtering the “phytoplankton”, they get the food they eat. They are gregarious animals who like to live in a colony. They generally breed between the end of spring and the beginning of summer, but are collected at any time of the year by “rakes or grapples” and by hand.

Other shellfish production

In the Gulf of Olbia, for over a century the production of other marine species has also been active, in particular:

  • Murex brandaris or Murice / Boccone di mare, is a gastropod mollusk belonging to the Muricidae family.
  • Solen marginatus, or cannolicchio / cappalunga, it is a bivalve mollusk of the Solenidae family.
  • Paracentrotus lividus or sea urchin of the Parechinidae family.

All the consortium areas allow the production of the three species mentioned, albeit in different quantities determined by the type of bottom, location and / or other natural factors.

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