Lorbé port has a long-standing tradition of growing this mollusc, which is one of its main activities. Over one hundred mussel growing platforms (known as bateas) are dotted around the estuary, producing many millions of kilos of mussels every year that create direct employment in this sector.
A mussel gastronomic fair is held at the beginning of August, during the celebration of the Carme festivities. This event attracts hundreds of visitors every year to the small village of Lorbé. Good music and good food are also on offer.
The process begins with the collection of the mussel larvae in its natural habitat, which can be carried out in two ways:
Collecting the larvae directly from the rocks at low tide.
Using collecting ropes at the time when the larvae are floating in the water.
The platform used to grow mussels is called batea, a floating open structure from which hang ropes onto which the mussel larvae attach themselves. These ropes must not touch the sea bottom to keep them safe away from predators. Each of these platforms can hold between 400 to 500 ropes.
After approximately 6 months, the growth of the larvae attached to the rope reaches a width that stops it from growing further. So, the rope is then split, i.e., the breeding rope is unfolded into two or three ropes of lower density, which allows the mussels to continue growing. Once this process is complete, 12 months must elapse until they can be harvested, at which point the mussels have reached their commercial size (6 to 10 cm).