Freshwater Pearl Mussel
Research has begun on how pearl mussels can be artificially reared in order that they can be reintroduced and supplement the existing populations. Reintroduction may help because it is thought that juvenile pearl mussels are particularly vulnerable to disturbance when they are released from the host fish and attempt to settle and grow on the river bed. If it becomes possible to rear pearl mussels artificially then it should also be possible to reintroduce them into rivers that have previously lost their populations due to historically poor water quality and/or pearl fishing.
Work is under way on a number of projects that aim to conserve pearl mussel populations in Scotland. Part of this includes surveying many of the most important populations in detail in order to further our understanding of their distribution, particularly within some of the very large river systems.
Recently our understanding of pearl mussel ecology has increased and this has helped inform how those rivers that continue to support pearl mussels are managed. Applying this knowledge should help to ensure that those populations are able to survive and increase in abundance.