A co-ordinated interprovincial response to invasive mussels has resulted in ten small competition sailboats and one Zodiac travelling from mussel-infested Lake Ontario being inspected at the Victoria Yacht Club. Ministry of Environment officials inspected all vessels on Aug. 27, 2014, and found no zebra or quagga mussels.
The Ministry of Environment was notified by officials in Alberta that a trailer carrying sail boats from Lake Ontario was travelling to Victoria. Three of the ten boats were inspected in Calgary and no zebra or quagga mussels were found.
The driver of the trailer, along with a group of experienced sail boating students, were onsite at the Victoria Yacht Club to help unload and decontaminate the boats. All boats coming from suspected mussel-infested areas must be thoroughly cleaned with a hot water pressure wash, drained and completely dried.
Earlier this month, Conservation Officers and government biologists partnered with border guards from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council to implement a pilot inspection station. A total of 132 boats were inspected and no vessels were found to be transporting prohibited aquatic invasive species. During the inspection 515 individuals were provided information about the risk of aquatic invasive species in new ecosystems. The Province will continue to set-up pilot inspection stations and work with other jurisdictions to respond to any contaminated watercrafts travelling to British Columbia.
It is estimated that the cost of an invasive mussel infestation in British Columbia could cost the Province a minimum of $28 million per year. Zebra and quagga mussels pose a serious threat the B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities.
The Province is working closely with the Governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to minimize the risks of cross-border transportation of mussel contaminated boats.
Reports of mussel-affected boats or equipment can be submitted to the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277 or online at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/rapp/form.htm
- Quagga and zebra mussels are not native to North America. These mussels have spread in Ontario and Quebec waters. Manitoba is the farthest west these invasive mussels have been found in Canada.
- These small, freshwater mussels can easily attach themselves to boats, trailers, motors, equipment and vegetation. They multiply rapidly and are difficult to eradicate once they become established in an area.
- Zebra and quagga mussels can survive for several weeks without being immersed in water if they are left in a cool and moist environment.
- Conservation Officers, Natural Resource Officers, Fisheries Officers and BC Parks Rangers have been trained to enforce the Controlled Alien Species Regulation, which restricts non-native species on boats and related equipment.
For more information about quagga and zebra mussels, visit: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/forests-lands-and-natural-resource-operations/factsheets/factsheet-invasive-quagga-mussels-and-zebra-mussels.html
For more information about invasive species, visit: www.reportinvasives.ca
Ministry of Environment