Both in Galicia, Spain and Sagres, Portugal, our mussel operations support the communities that work the farms, strengthening tradition and building hope for the future.
In Spain: Mussel and shellfish farming have supported the Galician village of Vilanova de Arousa for decades. In the early 21st century, large canning factories started leaving Spain for countries with cheaper workforces, threatening the village’s economy and way of life. Conservas Antonio Pérez Lafuente, a family-owned canning company, decided to redouble its support of local farmers. “We decided that the only way to survive was focusing on what we had been doing for all our company history … local products, productions and lifelong traditional recipes,” says Juan Pérez Lafuente, whose family started Conservas Antonio Pérez Lafuente in 1892. The company, located not far from the rafts where the bivalves are harvested, was the first in the European Union to earn organic certification for its canned mussels.
In Portugal: Although mussels are native to Portugal’s southern tip, mussel farming only arrived in 2010, when our partner, Finisterra, established its EU Organic operation in the pristine waters there. Along with local workers from the Algarve region, Finisterra employs North African workers and provides them with a path to EU citizenship. The company is also certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which means it meets strict standards for social responsibility as well as minimal environmental impact. Those standards include providing a safe and equitable working environment for its workers, decent wages and regulated working hours.