Congratulations to Offshore Shellfish - Credit: Submitted

Brixham seafood partnership lands top awards

Torbay Weekly

Brixham-based mussel farming company Offshore Shellfish Ltd, together with its Dutch processing partner Krijn Verwijs, won two special Seafood Excellence awards at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain last week. The Expo is the largest seafood show in the world.  

The awards recognise the best seafood products in several different categories. The competition is judged by an international panel, who mark each product on its eating experience, innovation, health and nutrition profile and market potential.  

Under the Premier Seafarmers brand, the partnership’s new products, launched in October 2021, scooped the prize for best Seafood Product Line and best Retail Packaging. 

The initial range includes Bangkok – Fresh Sauce with Lemongrass and Ginger, Classic – Fresh Sauce with Thyme and Rosemary, and Avignon – Fresh Sauce with Wild Garlic. The dishes offer a new vision for rope grown, pre-cooked mussels, which require just a few minutes in a pan or microwave to produce a restaurant-quality meal.

John with the winning produce - Credit: Submitted
John with the winning produce - Credit: Submitted

John Holmyard, MD of Offshore Shellfish Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to have won these awards for our new products, which recognise the skills and hard work of our crew in producing the world’s best mussels in challenging conditions, six miles offshore in Lyme Bay. The processing excellence of Krijn Verwijs is also key to our success and we are delighted to partner with them in our joint venture, Premier Offshore.  

“We had hoped to be able to process our award-winning mussels in a unit based in Brixham, but we were unable to secure the necessary shore-side space, so we took our business to the Netherlands, where we were welcomed with open arms.” 

The judges were particularly complimentary about the product range, praising the quality of the mussels, the consumer appeal of the chef-prepared sauces, and noting that the eating experience was comparable to a dish prepared with fresh live mussels. The use of eye-catching designs and fully recyclable packaging also gained their approval. 

The mussels have Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification and Soil Association organic certification and are undergoing audit against the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard this month.  

Sarah Holmyard, Head of Sales and Marketing, said: “Winning the prizes gained us a high level of interest from European retailers, and we are also very keen to see the products represented in the UK. We are sure that consumers will find our new ‘no hassle’, ready to heat and eat mussel range an exciting way to enjoy our shellfish with ease and confidence.” 

Offshore Shellfish is a family run business, founded by John and Nicki Holmyard, who have been involved in the mussel and seafood industries for more than 30 years. 

They are building the UK’s first large-scale, fully offshore, rope cultured mussel farm off the coast of South Devon, in a challenging marine environment. 

The development uses a combination of specially designed and adapted technology to cultivate the native blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, on suspended ropes at three sites between 3 and 6 miles offshore in Lyme Bay, South Devon. 

The three sites will cover a total area of 15.4 square km and produce around 10,000 tonnes per year once fully developed. 

The offshore location and the size of the farms enable the mussels to be cultivated at low density, which is beneficial for quality, rate of growth and meat content. 

The mussels settle naturally on special ropes that they hang in the water column to collect them. The mussels feed on natural plankton, with no other inputs, and the crop is inherently sustainable. 

Growing mussels is also a great way to capture carbon, and contribute to a zero-carbon future. Their shells are composites of calcium carbonate and organic material created by the mussels through a process known as biomineralisation. 

Offshore Shellfish is currently recruiting, as it starts the latest planned development phase, and has a variety of seagoing positions available. All enquiries to Sarah Holmyard, 07736 045150.