Alternate Title

Biological Feasibility of Freshwater Mussel and Pearl Culture in Gulf Coast States


Production of freshwater pearls from mussels has been shown to be a viable enterprise in Tennessee, and the freshwater environments and mussel species in Gulf Coast states provide ample resources for this fledgling industry to expand. Mussel species such as the washboard (Megalonaias nervosa), threeridge (Amblema plicata), and others in rivers and reservoirs are capable of producing quality pearls once the implantation technique for pearl formation becomes more widely known. Methods for the propagation of freshwater mussels with recirculating aquaculture systems have been developed recently to allow culture of rare or commercial species. Wild-caught mussels could be replaced by cultured juveniles, such that regulated harvest in state waters would have no adverse effect on native populations. The production of quality pearls of various shapes and colors provides the economic impetus to establish a pilot pearl project on the Gulf Coast.