Today, large Russian populations of Margaritifera margaritifera remain only in the Keret River in Karelia and the Varzuga River on the Kola Peninsula (~6 and ~140 million mussels, respectively; see Figure 5; S.
Pearling centres developed along the Dvina River and its tributaries near the city of Arkhangelsk, on the Keret and Kem Rivers in Karelia and on the Kola Peninsula (particularly near the Umba and Varzuga Rivers; Figure 5).
Visits were made to the towns of Umba, Kuzomen and Varzuga on the White Sea coast of the Kola Peninsula; the village of Keret and the city of Kem in Karelia; as well as the cities of Arkhangelsk on the coast of the White Sea and Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, situated at Lake Onega.
Government authorities at the Fisheries Office in Umba and at the Fisheries Cooperative in Varzuga were well informed of the importance of the pearl mussel's symbiosis with local salmon populations (see also Kaliuzhin, 2004).
Varzuga village, situated about 30 km inland from the mouth of Varzuga River, is an important religious centre for the White Sea coast.
Varzuga has no museum that traces the area's history, but due to its position as a centre for salmon fishing it is a busy village.
Kuzomen village, situated at the mouth of Varzuga River on the White Sea, was once also a local salmon fishing centre (and consequently a source of pearls).
They were made available by Russian fisheries biologist Valeriy Ziuganov, who obtained them during his studies of the Varzuga River.