B.C. conservation service seizes nearly 3,000 invasive mussel infested moss balls | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. conservation service seizes nearly 3,000 invasive mussel infested moss balls

A mussel infested moss ball.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / B.C. Conservation Officer Service
April 01, 2021 - 5:29 PM

A widespread effort to stop the spread of an invasive species in B.C. has resulted in the seizure or surrender of nearly 3,000 suspected or confirmed zebra mussel infested moss balls.

The water-garden moss balls, sold in pet stores and garden centres across the province and the country have recently been found to contain, or are suspected of containing, the invasive zebra mussels.

The products are known as Marimo moss balls and are sold as ornamental items in aquariums, according to Ministry of Environment media release. They are also sold as decorative houseplants.

Zebra mussels are considered highly invasive and pose a threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems.

Suspected and contaminated moss balls have been found in Terrace, Invermere, Kamloops, the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, the ministry said.

Conservation officers have reached out to more than 1,100 pet and aquarium plant stores, aquatic retailers and distributors as well as conducting hundreds of on-site inspections to prevent the sale of contaminated moss balls.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service continues to work with the ministry’s science experts and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Anyone finding zebra mussels is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

To date, there has been no reported introductions of live zebra mussels into B.C. lakes or waterways.

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