South East Rivers Trust

A selfish shellfish!


The invasive quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis) has been found in the Thames Catchment on the River Colne!

What is the quagga mussel?Quagga Mussel

The quagga mussel is an invasive freshwater filter-feeder with an extremely large capacity to filter water and the ability to grow large dense populations. When established, these combined traits can result in a reduction in the availability of nutrients and oxygen to our native aquatic wildlife, damaging a freshwater ecosystem.

Economically, the quagga mussel is a big problem as well. With its prolific breeding, this invasive mussel can clog water pipes, filters and turbines damaging our infrastructure. Furthermore it disrupts recreation, fishing and aquaculture industries by growing on equipment and boats.

All in all, it is not a welcome sight!

What can be done about it?

Currently there are no recommended methods for controlling populations of this mussel. Therefore our only option is prevention.

Biosecurity needs to be increased in the Thames Catchment to ensure the mussel isn’t accidentally transferred to our other river systems. For more details on how to step up your biosecurity – visit Check Clean Dry.

To find out more about the quagga mussel’s impact outside its native range, take a look at this video from North America where this mussel, and its relative the zebra mussel, have already had a devastating impact.

Image credit: Quagga mussel – GBNNSS

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