The Rebirth and Decline of Mussel Mud Digging

The harvesting of mussel mud on Prince Edward Island was unique. The mud digger, the methods and the determination were all born of Island innovation and perseverance. Nothing like it was done before or since the days that so many of our bodies of water were dotted with mud diggers each winter.

The most recent attempt at harvesting mussel mud looked very different then the early digging days. In 1989, there was a project headed by Island businessman Ron Sampson that saw the rich mud being dredged from the bottom and turned into fertilizer. He used modern machines and huge pipes to pump thousands of gallons of the mud, which was then mixed with other chemicals and sold as fertilizer. Although it looked very different than the pioneers of the industry it was done for exactly the same reason as those who spent winters on the ice selling the mud by the sleigh load. Like those before them, Sampson and his colleagues knew the great value and potential that lay at the bottom of Island bays and estuaries. The rich mud, if properly managed could fuel the fields of PEI well into the next millennium.

There is currently no harvesting of mussel mud on Prince Edward Island. Due largely to the fear of scabbed potatoes and the cost, the diggers and dredges have stopped and a product that was once so important to the Island is largely forgotten.
Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island.

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