The threats of zebra and quagga mussels has B.C. asking boaters for help to protect the province’s waters.
A DFO-funded program was announced on May 15 by the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC), “to remind boaters that they should always take action before launching into another waterbody to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species,” ISCBC executive director Gail Wallin said in a press release.
If zebra or quagga mussels make it to B.C. waters, ISCBC said it could cost $43 million annually to repair infrastructure, facilities and impact fish stocks.
The invasive species include animals, mollusks and plants that can harm the environment, fisheries, shipping, aquaculture and tourism. The press release said there are around 133 aquatic invasive species in BC. Some, like the zebra mussels, attach to boats and trailers, travelling long distances overland and in the water.
Boaters are asked to clean off all plants, animals and mud from their gear, drain water from their boats and gear on land and dry all parts before launching in new water — clean, drain, dry.