Plans for River Lune Mussels

Adrian Norris

This population of the freshwater pearl mussel has been unable to successfully reproduce for more than 30 years, putting the colony at risk, as there were only 80 adults left. Individuals have been removed from the population and taken to a secret location in Cumbria. The Environment Agency has set-up a ex-situ breeding programme, which has now successfully produced more than 2,500 pearl mussels from this population. Nicola Barnforth from the Environment Agency's biodiversity programme said "We hope to rear the juveniles until they are about five years old. At this point we can return them to a suitable part of the River Lune so the population can once again become self-sustaining. If we had not intervened and removed the mussels for they would have very soon become extinct in Lancashire."