Why can't we use zebra mussels' filtering abilities to our advantage by using them to help clean our water? Are they edible? Can zebra mussels be of benefit to humans in any way?
Zebra mussels have caused negative shifts in zooplankton populations in the Great Lakes and have nearly wiped out all native mussels in western Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. No one has been able to come up with any commercial use for them so far. As for them cleaning up the water, algae in the water is a good thing, unless it gets out of control -- which means that something else is out of balance. In that case, zebra mussels would only be a temporary solution and would, in fact, create a new problem. Then, what do we do with all the zebra mussels that have eaten all the algae that other native organisms depend on? Zebra mussels may be edible, but are far too small to bother with.
Economically speaking, zebra mussels have costs millions of dollars in cleanup and control in industrial settings. These costs are passed on to the consumer or taxpayer. Unfortunately, zebra mussels are here to stay. But precautions should still be taken to keep them from uninfested waters.