July 22, 2020

Invasive Mussels Found in Out-of-Province Boat Purchase

Ministry of Environment inspectors intercepted a boat contaminated with invasive mussels during a routine inspection on July 3.

The watercraft, purchased outside of Saskatchewan, was checked at an inspection station on Highway 16, near the Manitoba border.  When the mussels were discovered, ministry inspectors informed the owner and completed a full decontamination of the boat.

“This is very good news, and shows that Saskatchewan’s efforts to protect our waterbodies from aquatic invasive species are working,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “It also highlights the importance of making sure all watercraft purchased outside the province, especially from jurisdictions known to have such species, are inspected before being launched in Saskatchewan waters.”

The ministry now has eight mobile watercraft decontamination units to support its aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection and decontamination program, set up at fixed points on the Manitoba border, with others strategically placed throughout the province.  The U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel at this time.

Saskatchewan coordinates watercraft inspection with Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia to prevent AIS entering western Canada.  The inspection station that intercepted the mussels was opened in 2020, as part of the ministry’s expansion of its watercraft inspection program.

“It can be almost impossible to get rid of these invasive species once they become established, so investments in prevention are critical, potentially saving millions in annual management costs,” Duncan said.  “In addition to roadside boat inspections and decontaminations, our program focuses on public education, including the Clean, Drain, Dry Program for watercraft, and ongoing monitoring of our province’s waterbodies for AIS threats.”

Please remember to remove drain plugs on all watercraft while transporting watercraft in the province - it’s the law.  To find out if your watercraft is high-risk and requires an AIS inspection, call the ministry’s Inquiry Centre at 1-800-567-4224.

AIS are plant, animal and invertebrate species that threaten our waterways and can damage aquatic habitat, fisheries, valuable recreational resources and important power generation, irrigation and municipal water infrastructure.