Freshwater pearl mussels breeding in Northumberland

Freshwater pearl mussels breeding in Northumberland

Efforts to get "fussy" pearl mussels to breed have paid off.

For the last seven years the Environment Agency has been trying to recreate breeding conditions at Kielder Hatchery in Northumberland.

During the endangered molluscs' unusual breeding process, fertilized eggs need to "latch" on to fish to develop.

Now the work has paid off with 6,000 baby sea trout playing host to pearl mussel larvae.

Mussel Spawning

Mussel Spawning

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Agency experts said the species is "incredibly fussy" when it comes to breeding conditions and need very clean water to thrive.

Biodiversity officer Anne Lewis said a build up of sediment in North East rivers had also deterred breeding.

She said: "They are incredibly fussy breeders so we tried to encourage them to by bringing them to the hatchery.

"But after five years nothing was happening, so two years ago we created an outside stream at the hatchery to make conditions less artificial and this seems to have worked.

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