Scottish Gamekeepers have pledged their support in the fight against mussel poachers. Two years ago, Scottish freshwater pearl mussels joined the likes of the giant panda and Javan rhino on a list of 365 worldwide-endangered species.
This means the mussels are now protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, but this hasn’t deterred poachers from targeting them in search of pearls.
Pearl fishing is an illegal practice in Scotland and tends to occur in isolated areas, which makes it hard to police, but this is were the Gamekeepers come in.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association have reached an agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit to help put an end to pearl poaching in Scotland.
Gamekeepers tend to work in the remote areas where police resources tend to be spread thinly – the very areas were poachers have been targeting.
By working together with the police, by reporting any suspicious activity, gamekeepers aim to drive the number of poaching in Scottish rivers down significantly.
Community river-watch schemes have also been set up by the group Pearls in Peril, in a further attempt to stamp out poaching in Scottish rivers.