Mejillones de la Isla de Lobos
Mytilus edulis platensis is a subspecies of Mytilus edulis and originally comes from the south-western Atlantic. In Uruguay, the most appreciated mejillones come from the area of the Lobos Island, in the Maldonado department. Their meat is pale yellow and has a typical salty taste. As many mussels, it is rich in mineral salts and has a high content of proteins and vitamins. The buzos mejilloneros (diving fishermen) collect them underwater, with a net and a spatula to scrape them off the rocks and then load them onto the boat. Women, the elderly and the young members of the family clean the mussels and sell them at the market. Threatened by the competition of low-cost imported farmed products, the trade of the buzos mejilloneros is at risk of disappearing, after being passed on for generations. Safeguarding this important element of the local culture depends on the promotion of the product, which has historically always been appreciated and eaten in this part of Uruguay. The mejillones are usually cooked whole with chopped garlic, oil and vinegar, but are sometimes used as a filling or as an ingredient in soups and sauces.