Rare freshwater mussel spotted in Bouctouche River after a decade

Bouctouche River rare mussel find excites environmentalists

Group hopes discovery will help in bid for strengthened environmental protection for the river

By Denis Calnan, CBC News Posted: Aug 19, 2015 5:59 PM AT Last Updated: Aug 19, 2015 6:07 PM AT

Mussel researchers

Valérie Martin, Tina Sonier and Darlene Elward are searching the bed of the Bouctouche River for brook floater mussels. (Denis Calnan/CBC News)

An anglers group in New Brunswick plans to pursue improved protection measures for the Bouctouche River after discovering a rare freshwater mussel in the waterway.

The Southeastern Anglers Association found six brook floater mussels, an aquatic species of special concern in Canada, in the river over the last month.

“We just danced around [in the river],” laughed Valerie Martin, a summer student at the environmental organization of the initial find. “We were just really excited because we didn’t expect to find any that particular day. It was like a big surprise.”

The mussels were last spotted in the area a decade ago.

The species is being re-assessed to determine whether it should be re-classified by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Martin, who spotted the first specimen said it was easy to identify because of distinctive features like an orange foot.

brook floater mussel

The orange foot of the mussel was a happy sight for researchers. (Submitted by Southeastern Anglers Association)

The group has been working closely with the Shediac Bay Watershed Association. The two groups had a friendly competition to see which group could find the mussel first.

In reaction to hearing about the find, Jolyne Hebert, with the Watershed Association, said that she was “excited and a little jealous”.

“It sort of boosted our motivation to go out there and search even harder and try to find some, just to say that we found some too. But we haven’t been so lucky yet. But we’re still looking,” said Hebert.

One of the mussels was sent to the New Brunswick Museum for analysis and confirmation of the identity of the species.





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