Inspections halt boats carrying invasive mussels from entering B.C. waters

FILE PHOTO - A B.C. Conservation officer holds examples of quagga and zebra mussels at a boat inspection site in the Okanagan.

VERNON - British Columbia's lakes and rivers remain free of invasive mussel species, but that may be due mainly to the vigilance of the BC Conservation Officer Service.

Since April 1, a team of inspectors has checked 3,200 watercraft and identified six boats confirmed to be carrying invasive mussels.

Conservation Officer Service spokesman Chris Doyle says the inspected vessels arrived in B.C. from 33 different provinces and states across North America.

He says 18 decontamination orders have been issued and 16 boats were quarantined for 30 days to ensure any attached organisms or water in the hulls had completely dried.

Zebra and quagga mussels are not native to Canada and the rapidly multiplying freshwater species have the potential to threaten salmon populations, harm drinking water and destroy infrastructure by plugging pipes or other equipment.

Eight inspection stations were added on major B.C. waterways in March to spot boats contaminated with mussels that have already been identified in Ontario, Quebec and at least 24 American states.


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