B.C. inspecting boats for mussels

Boat inspection stations are opening in British Columbia this week as the province defends against invasive mussels travelling on watercraft.

A provincial government news release today said inspectors with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) will check boats for aquatic invasive species at various locations.

It also said everyone should clean, drain and dry their boats or other watercraft when moving between lakes in the province or bringing them into the province.

Given that travel is still restricted due to the pandemic, the risk of invasive species spread is thought to be lower compared to other years.

“We are fortunate there have been no reports of quagga and zebra mussels so far in B.C., and we need to make sure it stays that way by ensuring the necessary resources are in place to protect our economy, our infrastructure and our sensitive ecosystems,” said environment minister George Heyman in the news release.

The B.C. program consists of watercraft inspection, lake monitoring and public education.

Last year 22 mussel-fouled boats were discovered through more than 52,000 inspections. The fouled boats came from Ontario, Michigan, Utah and North Carolina and were headed for various B.C. lakes and rivers.

Watercraft subject to inspection include sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes and paddle boats.

Failing to stop at an inspection station is subject to a $345 fine.

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