Excerpt from Loch Creran: Notes From the West Highlands
What harm can mussels do to oysters indeed. Just come round this way 3 and we take our incredulous friend to the few hundred molluscs lately thrown from the boat at random on the foreshore. On the gravel, of late, a depo... sit of young mussels has been rapidly maturing, and upon these the large oysters from deeper water had ao cidentally been thrown. We lift one after another to find the byssus of the mussel firmly attached, and gradually extending over the shells, which are closed for a time at low water. A very few days and a good few of these strong oysters with powerfully developed muscles would have been most effectually choked by the numerous tenacious cords of the mussel having closed the shell too firmly to permit the spring of the oyster to expand and open it. What would they not have done to a bed of small, delicate shelled oysters in a similar position? It is impossible to estimate the injury done in this way to an oyster bed by a shell fish which grows to a certain maturity with great rapidity. There is a large bank of mussels of a certain size at the mouth of the river Awe that are said to die down every autumn when they reach a certain stage so that those about an inch or so in length must be but six months old. At this age an oyster is a delicate helpless creature, while these mussels are capable of forming a bank of such a mass, and so tied together, that nothing has a chance upon it but themselves.
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