top of page

New Zealand Greenlip Mussels

New Zealand Greenlip Mussels

New Zealand Greenlip Mussels

New Zealand Greenlip Mussels, also known as Greenshell mussels, are a popular seafood delicacy native to New Zealand. They are widely cultivated in the country and exported to other countries worldwide. In this article, we will cover the appearance, habitat, fishing, culinary uses, and conservation of New Zealand greenlip mussels.


New Zealand greenlip mussels are a species of mussel with a distinctive green lip around the edge of the shell. They have an elongated shell that can grow up to 240mm in length. The shells are smooth and have a blue-black color on the outside and a pearly white or cream color on the inside.


Greenlip mussels are found in the coastal waters of New Zealand, particularly in the northern and southern parts of the South Island. They grow on rocks, reefs, and other hard surfaces in intertidal zones and subtidal waters up to 30 meters deep. These mussels are filter feeders, which means they obtain their nutrition by filtering plankton from the water.

Fishing and Seasonality 

New Zealand greenlip mussels are commercially farmed in the country, with most of the production coming from the Marlborough Sounds region. The mussels are grown on ropes suspended in the water and are harvested by hand when they reach the desired size, usually after about 18 months. The season for harvesting greenlip mussels is year-round, but the peak season is from March to July.


Uses Greenlip mussels have a delicate flavor and a tender texture, making them a popular ingredient in seafood dishes worldwide. They can be prepared in many ways, including steaming, baking, grilling, frying, or even eaten raw. Some popular dishes featuring New Zealand greenlip mussels include mussel chowder, mussel fritters, and seafood paella.


The commercial farming of greenlip mussels is considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry. The mussels are farmed on ropes in the open sea, which helps to reduce the impact on the natural environment. Additionally, the mussel farms can provide important habitat for other marine species, such as fish and shellfish.

In terms of wild populations, the New Zealand greenlip mussel is not considered endangered or threatened. However, like any shellfish, their populations can be impacted by pollution or overfishing.

bottom of page