Invasive mussels (The Canadian Press)

COVID-19 restrictions may aid B.C.’s ongoing battle against invasive mussels

Dave Bennett, chairman of the Invasive Species Council of BC, says users of all types of watercraft must be extra vigilant

Travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic might help British Columbia defend against invasive mussels, but the province is taking no chances as it works to keep the creatures out of B.C. waterways.

A statement from the Environment Ministry says boat inspection stations are opening across B.C. to check for zebra and quagga mussels.

The invaders or their larvae can be carried on improperly cleaned, drained and dried watercraft coming from mussel-fouled waters outside the province.

Inspection stations are to operate until October, and while most provincial boat launches are now open, the statement says the ongoing pandemic means now is not the time for non-essential travel.

It says those travel restrictions are expected to lower the risk for arrival of invasive mussels, which reproduce so prolifically that they overwhelm beaches or infrastructure such as water intakes or docks.

The ministry says that of 52,000 inspections last year, 22 mussel-fouled boats were stopped from entering local waters and, so far, no mussel infestations have been reported in B.C.

Dave Bennett, chairman of the Invasive Species Council of BC, says users of all types of watercraft must be extra vigilant.

“Whether you are a paddler, boater or a fisher, let’s continue to work together and make sure all of our equipment and vehicles are clean, drained and dry before going to a new waterbody,” he says in the statement.

Anyone transporting watercraft — including sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes or paddle boats — must stop at an open inspection station or risk a $345 fine.

Last year, 116 violation tickets were issued to motorists failing to stop at inspection stations, the ministry says.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusFisheries and Oceans Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read