Noel Turner

Pioneer and Legend of the New Zealand Mussel Industry

Taking it to the World

New Zealand - Whanganui 1955: Noel Turner was born into a third-generation fishing family and grew-up on the ocean and in the bush. Noel left school in 1971 at 16 years of age and started his own fishing business catching and selling fish. Noel went on and pioneered the New Zealand Greenshell Mussel Industry; he started dredging mussels in the Marlborough Sounds in 1972, then pioneered the aquaculturing of wild Greenshell mussels in 1976, then processing them in his factory in 1978, then shipping and exporting the first container of Greenshell mussels ever out of New Zealand to the USA in 1982. 


Back in the 60’s and 70’s Greenshell mussels were an unknown shellfish to most New Zealander’s and the world over. Noel had grown up eating Greenshell mussels and knew how delicious they were. In 1976 Noel learnt from a marine biologist about the incredible health benefits of the Greenshell mussels and seized on the opportunity to aquaculture and sell them. There was no easy start to the Greenshell mussel industry, it struggled severely in its early years. 


No one understood or appreciated this underrated shellfish, someone had to go tell the world about them. It was Noel who took the bold and courageous step to move the industry forward. In 1985 Noel jumped on a plane to America and through his relentless efforts in the USA radically changed the industry forever. Noel lived on the road full-time for the next 15 years promoting and educating restaurateurs, hotels, cruise lines, and chefs on this incredible gourmet product. 


Noel single-handedly “main-streamed” mussels and calamari onto the menus of restaurants all across America in the 1980’s and 1990’s when no mussels or calamari were found on any menus, and the rest is history. Noel then moved onto Europe in 1994 and did the same. Noel visited over 25,000 restaurants all over the world between 1985 - 2000.

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