Save Devon’s mussels
THE freshwater pearl mussel isn’t the prettiest creature, but it’s important for river health, as it filters bacteria and algae, which helps to clean the water. The Devon Wildlife Trust needs to raise £9,000 for its project to breed them in captivity. The local population has declined due to pollution—they’re now only found on the Torridge and Taw and some of those are 50 years old— but the trust has reported the first signs of successful breeding for five decades.
Mussel larvae live on the gills of salmon or trout, which are being kept in a hatchery; when the larvae are big enough, they will drop off the fish and grow to become juvenile mussels, after which they will be transferred to the Torridge riverbed. However, even in an unpolluted river, only about five out of five million larvae will survive to become an adult freshwater pearl mussel. To donate to the project, visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org