Cromane sits within Castlemaine Harbour, which holds the largest natural mussel bed in Ireland. The traditional activities of fishing and mussel cultivation goes back generations. This 130-year-old mussel industry traces its origins back to the late 19th Century when local fishermen consigned quantities of mussels to the U.K market. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) constructed a purification plant in Cromane in 1940 to facilitate direct entry of mussels to the U.K. market. Here our great-grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers worked.
Transplanting of mussel seed has been carried out annually over the last 80 years to ensure a continuity of supply of marketable mussels. This has transformed the fishery from the original exploited wild stock to an extensive cultivated resource. Transplanting, harvesting and maintenance of mussel beds are carried out exclusively by 30 small open boats, 18ft in length, with outboard motors, until the arrival of large mussel dredgers in the mid-1980s.
Oysters were first cultivated in Ireland about 100 years ago. The Irish rock oyster was introduced to Ireland in the late 1970’s and is now the main species cultivated on our shores and bays in Cromane.