Invasive Species Alert

BC Conservation Officers Intercepted a Barge from Ontario That Was Covered in Zebra Mussels

Photo Taken By Lisa Scott
Alert Date:Posted on

When staff at B.C.’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program were notified that a high-risk watercraft heading for the Lower Mainland appeared to be covered in invasive zebra mussels, inspectors with the Conservation Officer Service (COS) immediately took action.

Inspectors tracked down the massive barge which had travelled from Lake Ontario. The barge was redirected to a Richmond warehouse for a full decontamination, which was the largest of its kind since the program started in 2015. Inspectors used specialized equipment to remove thousands of invasive mussels over two days. Many of the mussels were viable, which means they could multiply in B.C. waters if given the chance.

“This was the largest, most significant discovery of zebra mussels on a watercraft our teams had ever experienced. To decontaminate the vessel, we required a specialized operational plan and space due to the sheer size,” said COS Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector Dave Webster. “I am proud of how quickly our teams mobilized to stop invasive mussels from reaching B.C. waters. This is a testament to the success of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program and its co-ordinated approach with our neighbouring provinces to tackle the threat of this invasive species.”

To date, there has been no reported introduction of live zebra or quagga mussels into B.C. lakes or waterways. Once established in a waterbody, invasive mussels can cause damaging impacts to fisheries, aquatic life, and infrastructure.

To help prevent the spread of invasive mussels, make sure to always Clean, Drain, and Dry your watercraft. Before travelling to B.C., make sure to stop at a mandatory watercraft inspection station where your boat can be checked for invasive mussels.

To read the full article, click here. 

For more information on the B.C. Invasive Mussel Defence Program, click here.