Some mussel producers on P.E.I. are getting 70 cents a pounds for their product for the first time ever.

It's the highest price Chris Somers has ever received for his mussels. He's been growing them for  25 years. For the last few years he's been operating at a loss.


The price of mussels for consumers could go up, says P.E.I. Mussel King president Esther Dockendorff. (Denis Calnan/CBC)

"Old outboards and old engines, everything has to be repaired," said Somers.

He's been thinking about getting out of the business, but this price increase could change that. He's getting paid about a dime more for every pound.

"It's the difference of paying yourself enough for a salary for the year," he said.

"It doesn't sound like much, but it is significant."

Most mussel growers are paid between 55 and 65 cents a pound, but not those supplying P.E.I. Mussel King of Morell, which recently decided to pay its growers more.

"We've been watching over the years independent growers go out of business and we believe it's important that independents remain in the industry," said P.E.I. Mussel King president Esther Dockendorff.

"We increased the price to where they can make a living."

She hopes other processors follow suit. Dockendorff acknowledges consumers may have to pay more.

"The good thing about this industry is people love mussels," she said.

"If they go to the supermarket and they pay an extra 10 cents a pound (22 cents a kilogram), I don't think people are going to stop eating mussels.  It's a good product, It's good food value and I don't believe that consumers are going to complain."

Somers hopes this price increase from P.E.I. Mussel King is just the beginning.

For mobile device users: Are you willing to pay more for mussels?