TESTS are being carried out in Hayle to assess whether mussels located in the harbour area are suitable for the food chain.
Large mussel beds, which have been located in abundance around the Carnsew sluice tunnels, are being tested for heavy metals and other potential harmful substances by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) on behalf of the Food Standards Agency.
Harbour master, Peter Haddock, said that, if safe to eat, the shellfish have the potential to generate money for the harbour at a future date.
"There is a programme of testing in place to ascertain if mussels are fit for the food chain.
"They have to be tested for heavy metals. Application is needed to classify the mussel beds. Until we get it we cannot remove any mussels from the harbour," said Mr Haddock.
"It could be a small enterprise, which perhaps would employ one person. The mussels are in a dangerous area near the sluice tunnel, they are protected by bylaws in the harbour.
"At the moment any mussels removed from there have to be in a controlled environment."
It is hoped that the results of the tests will be revealed before the end of the year.
If successful, the site could be turned into a small enterprise for farming mussels which would be sold to local companies to generate income for the harbour.
The work has been welcomed by MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, George Eustice, who thinks there is potential to help develop fishing in the town.
He said: "Having met the harbour master a couple of weeks ago I think plans to develop mussel beds in Hayle are really encouraging and means some great income potential for the local economy.
"I believe Hayle has a bright future in fishing and this has already started with the town housing a distribution centre for most of the lobsters caught off the Isles of Scilly.
"There are also some interesting ideas being put forward by the town to renovate East Quay into a new facility to develop fishing further and I look forward to studying these in more detail."