The mussel’s over-exploitation for centuries is the primary reason for the … If there are no alternatives and mussels need to be moved, Natural England may issue a conservation licence. This aquatic bivalve mollusc is a large species of freshwater mussel. Suitable for medium to large ponds and lakes (or 1 mussel … Freshwater mussel species are diminishing at an unprecedented rate for a variety of reasons. The larger shell is a Paper Pondshell, one of the common freshwater pond mussels. The fishing of both salmon and trout in Scotland is worth millions to the economy. They are generally then discarded in piles on the river bank. It requires cool, well-oxygenated soft water free of pollution or turbidity. Freshwater pearl mussels became endangered, as their name suggests, for their pearl and this is the primary reason for their demise. We use this information to make the website work as well as possible and improve government services. The smaller shell is a Lilliput, one of the smallest freshwater pond mussels, attaining … We use cookies to collect information about how you use GOV.UK. You can get a licence to take or handle freshwater pearl mussels for: You can’t get a licence for development, maintenance or land management activities. We’ll send you a link to a feedback form. These will only be given if you enhance the species’ habitats and help to conserve them. Males release sperm into the water column where it is taken up by an incurrent aperture … Freshwater pearl mussels are rare in Scotland, mainly due to ongoing, illegal pearl fishing, poor water quality and habitat damage. Freshwater mussels have a complex life cycle and depend on a specific fish-host along with river currents to reproduce. 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. Buy freshwater mussels from a source that harvests them legally and from unpolluted waters. Iain Sime, SNH freshwater and wetlands advice manager, said: "Freshwater pearl mussels can live to well over 100 years old, but the species is critically endangered in Europe. If you’re found guilty of an offence you could get an unlimited fine and up to 6 months in prison. You should also survey any length of river where your work may reduce water flow. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is … Pond Snails and Mussels. The illegal killing of the pearl mussels has serious implications for the population, which has led to the extinction of populations from many rivers. The fertilised eggs develop within the gills of the female and are then released as larvae into the surrounding water. 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. 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