Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mussel homebound

A shellfish has been returned to the sea off the coast of Anglesey after being posted "home" from Shropshire.

The mussel had been picked up by five-year-old Alastair Thornton from Church Stretton whilst on holiday.

His mother contacted an Anglesey website asking for advice to save it.

Mike Roberts who works at the University of Wales, Bangor's school of ocean sciences saw the message and offered to put it back if the mollusc was popped in the post.

"I happened to log-on as the message was being posted, and as I work in the school of ocean sciences in Menai Bridge I thought I could help as it was no hassle to throw it into the Straits on my way to work. Then I thought about the large mussel fishery in the Strait and decided to drop it off at Red Wharf Bay where it was found, as that's on my way home from work anyway," said Mr Roberts.

Lynda Thornton who had visited Anglesey for a half-term break, with son Alastair and husband Ben, said she felt awful when they got home and found the live mussel amongst the sea shells her son had collected.

"I just couldn't plonk it in the bin to die, so I went on the internet and came across a community forum on Anglesey. Mike was so very helpful, it was just a very funny episode really."

Mrs Thornton did not tell her son about the mussel drama at first in case her bid to get him home failed.

"It could have gone horribly wrong but happily it now has a happy ending. Alastair is now quite intrigued by it all. I'm glad too that Mike took it back to Red Wharf Bay. It would have been ironic if it was fished out from the Menai Strait after I tried to save it - hopefully now it will be safe."

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