May 29, 2020

Invasive Mussels Intercepted at U.S. Border

The Ministry of Environment, working with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), prevented invasive mussels from hitching a ride from the U.S. into Saskatchewan at the end of March, marking the first discovery of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at a boat inspection in the province this year.

CBSA officers at the port of Regway identified a boat owned by Canadian travellers as high-risk, and notified the ministry.  Because the travellers were required to self-isolate upon their return to the country, the watercraft was sealed, to be inspected at a later date.  During the scheduled inspection last week, conservation officers found invasive mussels inside one of the boat’s storage compartments.  The ministry’s fisheries staff decontaminated the watercraft to ensure that it no longer poses a threat.

“This discovery really highlights the level of co-ordination it takes to ensure that Saskatchewan waters are protected from aquatic invasive species,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Saskatchewan works closely with partners from other jurisdictions, including the CBSA, and it’s always gratifying when our co-operation is able to achieve a positive result like this one.”

The ministry believes it is likely the mussels were picked up by the anchor, and reminds boaters to carefully inspect accessories such as anchors, ropes, buoys and the compartments where they are stored while completing Clean, Drain and Dry protocols on their watercraft.

In Saskatchewan, it is unlawful to transport invasive mussels or other prohibited species, dead or alive.

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.  AIS can be impossible to eliminate once established in a waterbody, and can cost millions of dollars annually to manage.

To report aquatic invasive species, call the 24-hour SASKTIP line at 1-800-667-7561.