However, only very occasionally do they produce a pearl yet the search for their pearl results in many mussels being killed. The male mussels release sperm into the water which is then inhaled by the female. When exposed to air, mussels close their shells; thus any air-exposed open mussel is dead. The freshwater pearl mussels live partially buried in sand beds, surrounded by boulders, in clean, fast flowing streams. All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Get a licence to disturb freshwater pearl mussels, licence to survey for freshwater pearl mussels, Bats: surveys and mitigation for development projects, Invertebrates: surveys and mitigation for development projects, White-clawed crayfish: surveys and mitigation for development projects, Otters: surveys and mitigation for development projects, Water voles: surveys and mitigation for development projects, Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support, Transparency and freedom of information releases, capture, kill, disturb or injure them (on purpose or by not taking enough care), damage or destroy their breeding or resting places (even accidentally), obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places (on purpose or by not taking enough care), by hand using a glass-bottomed viewing bucket, under favourable conditions, eg when the water is clear, in bright light (between 10am and 4pm) and when the river flow is low, disturbing the mussel beds, eg pearl fishing, river engineering or works, eg dredging river shingle, sand and gravel, using machinery and vehicles in the water, removing (abstracting) water and changing river flow, reduce water quality, eg discharged chemicals or nutrients that lower oxygen levels suitable for, lead to a decline in populations of salmon or trout (mussels’ host fish), lead to a decline in habitat conditions, eg losing tree cover that provided shade for mussels, pollute the water, including silt and sediment deposits (siltation), protect the species population and distribution, protect the river bed and the habitat immediately around it, consider how other species could be affected by the mitigation, preventing any sediment from being released, reducing the effect of sediment upstream of the mussel beds, eg by fencing off river banks (‘riparian habitat’), creating buffer zones or shoring up banks by managing or planting new trees, stopping nutrients and sediment from entering the river from sources of pollution such as ditches, cattle drinking points, roads and farms, controlling non-native and invasive plant species, in-channel works to maintain water flow and improve river bed composition, eg by narrowing the channel width to speed up flow or by removing weirs, improving the survival of fry and juvenile mussels by cleaning and adding river gravel or boulders, installing large woody debris to improve habitat conditions for host fish, scientific or educational purposes eg to do a survey or for research, conservation, when there’s no option but to remove them in order to prevent them being harmed or killed. They are not fussy about the type of water they live in, as long as it is relatively unpolluted and oxygen rich. Once established, the larvae drop off into a suitable sand bed where they grow to adults over the following years. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Freshwater mussels are equally comfortable in tropical or cold water. You can get expert advice from an ecologist to help you decide, but this isn’t a legal requirement. Quagga mussels could do untold damage to freshwater and estuarine environments if they are allowed to spread which could have a significant impact on marine and freshwater fish stocks. Freshwater pearls are pearls that are grown on pearl farms using freshwater mussels. The fishing of both salmon and trout in Scotland is worth millions to the economy. Mussels … In my own humble opinion one of the UK`s best kept secrets" - Stuart M Crofts. If this isn’t possible, use mitigation measures to reduce the impacts and use compensation measures if there are still negative impacts for freshwater pearl mussels. The shell is thin but large (approximately 10 to 20 cm) and rather flat, even at the umbo. For example, for river engineering you should survey the entire river bed that’s directly affected, extending the search area by at least 0.1 km upstream and 0.5 km downstream. The extraordinary life cycle of the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera enabled it to thrive in rivers across most of northern Europe and north America including the UK.. Widespread across Central Europe and the UK. This aquatic bivalve mollusc is a large species of freshwater mussel. Floodplain mussels (also known as the “freshwater mussel”, “balonne freshwater mussel”, “billabong mussel” or “slow-water mussel”) are large, brown-black bivalve molluscs that naturally live on the … The freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera grows to 140 mm in length, and burrows into sandy substrates, often between boulders and pebbles, in fast-flowing rivers and streams. You should get a suitably trained and competent person to survey the river bed for freshwater pearl mussels: How much of the river you should survey depends on the kind of work you’re planning to do. The country including Scotland, mainly due to ongoing, illegal pearl hunting mussels! Over penguins and rare birds theft using freshwater mussels this information to make the website work as well as and. That could affect protected species as part of getting planning permission northern England, Shropshire and Devon unpolluted oxygen... 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