Charlottetown, P.E.I. – Exports to the U.S. of Canadian fresh blue cultured mussels rose 10 per cent last year, a key milestone for the growing Canadian mussel industry.
The increase in exports also means that Canadian mussels overtook exports of mussels from New Zealand for the first time. Mussel exports from Canada to the U.S. were worth $27.4 million in 2010, comprising 47 per cent of the U.S. market, compared to 42 per cent for New Zealand.
Hanging ropes of blue cultured mussels
“For many years New Zealand has led in sales, importing frozen cooked mussels on the half shell,” says Terry Ennis, president of the Mussel Industry Council of North America (MIC), an association of producers and processors from P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. “What we’re seeing now is the market respond to our product that is eco-friendly and available live and fresh all year round.”
According to the MIC, growth is based on the quality of Canada’s fresh, live mussel exports, the recession, and increased marketing efforts.
“In the past year the MIC has exhibited at major restaurant and consumer shows and held multiple online campaigns, contests and recipe offers to encourage the consumption of these delicious mussels,” says Linda Duncan, executive director of the MIC. Duncan adds that fresh mussels also offer a price point matched for the recession.