Between 1998 to 2012, there were 72 suspected poaching and illegal fishing of endangered freshwater Pearl Mussel in the rivers of Scotland. 45 of the criminal poaching took place during the last four years.
The protected mussel was found in 155 Scottish rivers at the beginning of the 1900s. Due to illegal fishing, the mussel is currently found in one-thirds of the rivers.
Across Europe, around 90 percent of mussels have been killed in the 20th century.
The mussel can live for over 100 years and produce pearls that are used in luxury items.
Source: Martin Williams, “Rare pearl mussel at risk due to illegal poaching,” Herald Scotland, May 13, 2013.