Well, this has turned out to be another unpredictable year for the mussel shell business. It started out decent enough; two shell companies open and buying, prices fairly steady, shells plentiful if you work hard. But word gets around fast, especially in the economy that we have currently. Even though the prices are lower than they have been in twenty-five years, a reduction in the number of divers has resulted in a comeback of many of the old shell beds. When word spread that a descent living could once again be made diving, several former divers have gotten back into it. This has caused the market to be quickly flooded.
Now one of the buyers has shut down because they have filled their orders, the other can't take the strain of all the new divers and has been running out of money every few days. Hopefully the market will level back out soon. I hate to say it, but I wish a lot of these 'warm water' divers would go back to their regular jobs. There are only a handful (maybe five) of us that dive year round. It is a brutal and painful job in the dead of winter. Summertime should be the time to enjoy this occupation, but that is hard to do when the influx of new divers make the market so unpredictable.