Slow Fish in Action
Portonovo Wild Mussels
Around Ancona, mussels that reproduce naturally and live attached to underwater rocks off the Conero coast are known as "moscioli". The local trattorias made them famous in the 1950s, and the mollusks began to be harvested on a large scale by small fishing boats with the help of divers. During the following two decades, there were around 80 active boats along the Conero coast, 30 of which belonged to the Portonovo fishing cooperative. Eventually, difficulties in harvesting the mussels and competition from farmed mollusks led to a steep fall in production. The number of divers willing to do this type of work also fell steeply.
By now, wild mussels are only gathered along a few stretches of the Italian coastline. The Presidium fishers have done a lot of work on the supply chain to guarantee their mussels come from permitted fishing zones, are traceability throughout the distribution chain and, most importantly, the equilibrium between catch quantities and reproduction capacity ensures that the mussel population is given time to regenerate.
The stretch of coast from Pietralacroce to the border between Sirolo and Numana, with Portonovo Bay in the middle, Ancona Province