Virginia Tech Fisheries Professor Works To Conserve Mussels

ause in Virginia, juveniles can only be released where the mother was found. Virginia's restoration policy fails to factor in aquaculture solutions, so Tennessee has a standing contract with Virginia Tech to replenish the border rivers on the Tennessee side.

Neves is also educating students about mussels and their conservation. He helped produce one publication, Help Save America's Pearly Mussels, for the Virginia Cooperative Extension and created full color posters and videos about mussels.

The Virginia Tech malacologist (one who studies mollusks) is conserving mussels in the international arena, too. Last year, he toured China's freshwater pearl culture ponds and met with the staff at the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, where he talked about his research. He also described the U.S. Geological Survey's efforts to conserve species through closed-system aquaculture of juveniles and the identification of suitable habitat to reestablish populations.

China has indicated interest in species conservation and has requested help from the United States. The Chinese malacologists outlined the technical assistance they needed, and this gave Neves an opportunity to work with Chinese malacologists to initiate a species conservation program in China. The Chinese now need support, such as books, technical assistance, equipment, training, and funding.

Russia is another country that needs help in its conservation efforts. The recent break-up of the Soviet Union is creating economic hardships that are taking a toll on research initiatives. It is more difficult to promote natural resource conservation during such turmoil, but scientists are still trying.

Last year, the Russian Academy of Sciences invited Neves to sample water quality and assess the freshwater mussel population in the Varzuga River, Murman sk Province. Neves, three Russian scientists, and six Swedish scientists participated in the wilderness expedition

Contact: Richard Neves
Virginia Tech

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