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Old 24 October 2006, 17:00   #1
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Zebra Mussels

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/6081174.stm

The bloody things seem to have arrived in UK waters - if found report at once - not often are you called upon to destroy the environment but these things spread like a plague!!!
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Old 24 October 2006, 17:05   #2
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Press are useless - they arrived last year!!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/4929372.stm
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Old 24 October 2006, 21:41   #3
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You might as well get used to them, once established, that's it, they will spread and you will not get rid of them, they are all over the Great Lakes, apparently they are dumped out of ships bilges. They will attach to any hard surface and do well below the surfline, the edges of the shells are like straight razors they can and will cut you to ribbons if you rub up against them. The Zebra mussels have a toxin that inflames any cuts you receive similar to an infection, it is not dangerous but it does delay healing and makes the cut tender. One benefit, they filter lots of fresh water so if you have a area that is murky they will help clean it up...
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Old 24 October 2006, 21:58   #4
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Can you eat these Zebra mussels?
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Old 24 October 2006, 22:02   #5
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Apparently so - they taste pretty much like normal ones - tell the Chinese cockle pickers that they will soon vanish!!!
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Old 24 October 2006, 22:44   #6
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I never heard of anyone eating them, they tend to be pretty small, but numerous.
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Old 24 October 2006, 23:41   #7
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Originally Posted by pathalla View Post
I never heard of anyone eating them, they tend to be pretty small, but numerous.
Actually, here they are quite toxic... they accumulate toxins at a rate 10X greater than native species. Divers in the Great Lakes have a love/hate relationship with these friggin' things. As Pathalla points out, they filter vast amounts of sediment and the water here is more clear than ever... at least in the 32 years I've been diving here. We regularly get 70' visibility, and I have seen it as high as 100 feet. (Compared to an average of perhaps 20-25 feet a few years ago...) In warm water areas, the increased light penetration will cause an increase in algae blooms however.

The downsides (which IMHO far outweigh our Carribbean vis.) are that they completely cover our wrecks if they are above the lowest thermocline... typically about 70'. (I have read studies reporting a density of 70000... yes, thousand... per sq. metre in Lake Erie) They are slowly moving into the colder waters however. In Tobermory, they are still fairly light, but in Kingston and the western end of the St. Lawrence River, the wrecks are covered to perhaps a foot deep.

The other really bad news is that they also consume massive amounts of plankton... the primary food of our native fish when they are young. The sport fisheries in Lake Erie are particularly effected I understand. (I'm not a fisherguy...)

So far, only a few ducks eat them, but obviously they can only get the shallow ones. There is a new non-native specie of blennie which apparently eats them. They have no predator however, and in areas they are thick, and crowding out native species as well.

We might as well get used to these immigrants... they are part of an ongoing stream.... lamprays, carp, Brits....
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Old 25 October 2006, 08:49   #8
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Yes they are only safe to eat in very clean waters as they are so effective at cleaning up the water - they could have some interesting uses for commercial water filtration I suppose???

Anyway they won't be much of a problem in most of the UK - they only live in fresh water. Such a shame - I had hopes of them eating all the silt in the Bristol Channel......

Is it any wonder so many Brits are coming over? Thanks to good old Tony there's no more room left on our own island!!!
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Old 25 October 2006, 09:33   #9
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Originally Posted by Stoo View Post
Actually, here they are quite toxic... they accumulate toxins at a rate 10X greater than native species. Divers in the Great Lakes have a love/hate relationship with these friggin' things. As Pathalla points out, they filter vast amounts of sediment and the water here is more clear than ever... at least in the 32 years I've been diving here. We regularly get 70' visibility, and I have seen it as high as 100 feet. (Compared to an average of perhaps 20-25 feet a few years ago...) In warm water areas, the increased light penetration will cause an increase in algae blooms however.

The downsides (which IMHO far outweigh our Carribbean vis.) are that they completely cover our wrecks if they are above the lowest thermocline... typically about 70'. (I have read studies reporting a density of 70000... yes, thousand... per sq. metre in Lake Erie) They are slowly moving into the colder waters however. In Tobermory, they are still fairly light, but in Kingston and the western end of the St. Lawrence River, the wrecks are covered to perhaps a foot deep.

The other really bad news is that they also consume massive amounts of plankton... the primary food of our native fish when they are young. The sport fisheries in Lake Erie are particularly effected I understand. (I'm not a fisherguy...)

So far, only a few ducks eat them, but obviously they can only get the shallow ones. There is a new non-native specie of blennie which apparently eats them. They have no predator however, and in areas they are thick, and crowding out native species as well.

We might as well get used to these immigrants... they are part of an ongoing stream.... lamprays, carp, Brits....
That last one can be particularly troublesome at times.....drinking every beer in sight...bragging (Cod) up their boats... eating all our Zebra Mussels... scary thought really, masses of British ribbers invading the Great Lakes, creating havoc here and elsewhere in peaceful North America!
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Old 25 October 2006, 18:08   #10
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Yea you've got it coming all right - we'll show you how to build and handle RIBs!!!
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