Saving Freshwater Pearl Mussels from Extinction through Captive Breeding

  • David Roberts (Participant)
  • Sarah Preston (Participant)
  • Conor Wilson (Participant)
  • Reid, Neil (Participant)
  • Gemma Beatty (Participant)
  • Jim Provan (Participant)
  • Bradley, Caroline (Participant)

Impact: Environmental Impact, Economic Impact


UK Species Action Plans (SAP) and selection of Special Areas of Conservation under the EC Habitats Directive for declining populations of the critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera were informed by QUB research. As an element of the Northern Ireland SAP, in 2009 about 350 mussels produced in a unique captive-breeding facility at a fish farm were released into a river where mussels face extinction. Up to 99% of released mussels survived and a further 240 additional juveniles were released in 2013. This approach complements policy for habitat restoration through catchment management, was a first in Europe and is now being emulated for endangered populations in Austria.
Impact statusOngoing
Category of impactEnvironmental Impact, Economic Impact