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Penticton  

Mussels stopped at border

A boat contaminated with invasive mussels was recently stopped trying to enter B.C. at the Osoyoos border crossing.

The BC Conservation Officer Service tweeted a picture of the vessel Monday, after they were tipped off by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

As boating season approaches, Conservation Officer Sgt. Cynthia Mann says they have an expanded program this year at points of entry from Alberta and the United States to check watercraft for incredibly damaging Zebra and Quagga mussels.

“These mussels are invasive and displace our native plant and fish species. They alter wetland and shoreline structures. They’ll impact fish populations,” she said, explaining the province has, so far, kept them out of B.C. lakes.

Last year, 25 mussel-fouled vessels were caught trying to enter B.C., but just one could spell disaster for a lake.

“There is economic impact, environmental impacts, right down to social impacts...from being unable to walk on a beach because their shells are like little razors, to degrading our water quality.”

Mann said owners of all watercraft from paddle boards to full-sized boats are required to stop at the mussel check points — those that don’t face a fine.  The mussel larvae can live for up to 30 days outside the water and need to be removed with hot water.

“These inspection stations are not setup to interrupt anyones plans or intentionally delay them — it's the bigger picture,” she said, adding they try to move people through as quickly as possible. 

“They are there for a very good reason.”



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