Kush Seafarms

Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background


Product Range
Fresh Mussels, Organic Fresh Mussels In MAP – 700g, 1kg, 2kg, Organic Fresh Mussels in Jute Bags – 10kg and 15kg, Pre-Cooked Vacuum-Packed Organic Mussels – 450g, 500g And 1kg (Frozen & Chilled), Frozen Organic Mussel Meats – 10kg Boxes; 200-300 & 300-500 pieces per kilo, Organic Mussel Soup in Glass Bottles – 490g.

Specialists In
Producing organic mussels and the export of the best live, chilled and frozen shellfish around the world. 

Kush Shellfish is a family-run Irish seafood business based in Kenmare Bay, off the Beara Peninsula on the south west coast of Ireland.

Established in 1987, the company has built an excellent reputation for premium Irish shellfish combined with sterling customer service.

The company strives to provide customers with succulent, natural shellfish with the delicate taste of the pure Special Area of Conservation (SAC) waters where they are grown.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Raw Material Sourcing

  • Raw materials (mussels) used in production of the company’s value added line will be only certified organic or another environmentally friendly equivalent.

Manufacturing Processes

  • Waste to be reduced by 30% over a ten year period.
  • Emissions to be reduced by 0.5-1% over a ten year period.

Social Sustainability

  • Host school visits and employ young people over the Summer to teach them mussel aquaculture skills.

Unique Selling Points

Kush Shellfish is Ireland’s first organic rope mussel producer, all of which are cultivated in the cleanest, purest (SAC level) and best possible shellfish-growing conditions in Kenmare Bay.

All mussels are monitored as part of the National Biotoxin Monitoring programme from the Marine Institute of Ireland.

Not only are the rope mussels available in live, chilled or frozen formats, its pre-cooked organic produce is ready to eat in minutes.

There is a variety of packaging options on offer, such as vac-pack pre-cooked, MAP tray fresh, or organic rope mussels meat (IQF). The company is a verified sustainable producer member of Origin Green.

Awards & Accreditations

  • Finalist Prix d’Elite 2014
  • BIM Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year 2016
  • Organic
  • Naturland
  • Biosuisse
  • Global Trust
  • Irish Quality Mussels Scheme

Case Study

Kush Seafarms is a family-run seafood business based on Ireland’s picturesque south-west coast – in Kenmare, Co Kerry. Established in 1987, the company has built an excellent reputation for premium Irish shellfish combined with quality customer service.

Kush’s main focus is organic rope mussels, which make up 90% of its business – most of which being exported to France. Its mussel production varies in line with natural cycles, but is in the region of 500 to 800 tonnes per year. Kush also trades oysters and periwinkles bought from local pickers.

Developing sustainability

Green credentials

Mussel farming is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of protein production. It needs no food inputs – the mussels filter feed off the phytoplankton that naturally live in the North Atlantic.

Kush was Ireland’s first organic shellfish producer. Since then, it has gone on to become the only shellfish company in the world to hold organic credentials from Naturland (Germany), Bio Suisse (Switzerland), Global Trust (Ireland and EU) and the Irish Quality Mussels Scheme (run by the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, Bord Iascaigh Mhara).

Kush Seafarms has had an environmental-management system since it joined Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s ECOPACT (Environment Management System for Aquaculture) in 2008. This focused on organic, environmental, waste, sustainability and chemical policies.

Natural collection

Kush was one of the first producers to switch to a collection method that does not interfere with wild mussel colonies, adult mussels or other sea life – meaning its environmental impact is insignificant.

Wild ways

Kush grows and harvests mussels in a similar way to natural, wild development – which leads to minimal stress and good health for the stock The Class A waters where Kush operates, which are part of a Special Area of Conservation, are monitored for biotoxins weekly by the Marine Institute of Ireland. A new “depuration” facility located in the nearby village of Ardgroom, Co Cork, helps to maintain water purity.

Carbon footprint

Kush was the first Irish producer to conduct a carbon-footprint assessment on its mussel production. To date, Kush has reduced carbon emissions by 66%.

What does Origin Green membership mean for Kush?

Kush Seafarms’ track record and commitment to sustainability make it an ideal candidate for Origin Green, with its core sustainability charter.

As Company Director John Harrington explains: “The success of Kush Seafarms is reliant on a clean and sustainable aquatic ecosystem. The wild Atlantic waters, which shape the rugged Irish coastline, meet the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the cold fresh waters flowing from the Irish boglands.

“This is one of the last remaining ecosystems of this type in Europe. Our operations have been fine tuned to be environmentally sensitive, with a clear commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and continually improving our sustainable practices.”

Under its Origin Green plan, Kush commits to:

  • Reduce waste per mussel by 30% over 10 years
  • Join the Bord Iascaigh Mhara scheme to recycle all head ropes
  • Switch to more efficient fluorescent lighting
  • Teach aquaculture skills to young people via 2-3 internships per year
  • Increase the number of public and school visits to its facilities

Kush Seafarms is committed to achieving sustainable growth during the next decade. As John Harrington says “We see ourselves as part of a valuable ecosystem and strive to have the least possible impact on it with a view to protecting future generations.”


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