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No invasive mussels reported in Saskatchewan during 2019

Invasive mussels, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a risk to Saskatchewan waterways.
Invasive mussels, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a risk to Saskatchewan waterways. Brittany Greenslade / Global News

No aquatic invasive species (AIS) were brought into Saskatchewan during 2019.

Environment officials said more than 3,100 watercraft were checked during the year for signs of invasive species, including zebra mussels and quagga mussels.

Of those, 1,147 were identified as high-risk and needing further inspection and 217 watercraft were decontaminated.

READ MORE: Aquatic invasive species pose risk to Saskatchewan waterbodies

AIS was not found in any of the cases.

“I’m pleased that our focus on public awareness and education, along with roadside watercraft inspections, decontamination and regular monitoring, continues to achieve positive results,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said in a statement Tuesday.

Invasive mussels pose a risk to Saskatchewan waterways and the province tested 123 waterbodies for AIS, with all results coming back negative.

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Zebra and quagga mussels are almost impossible to eradicate once established in waterways and can severely impact aquatic habitat, fisheries, recreational resources and water-related infrastructure.

B.C. government adds a second canine to help sniff out boats carrying an invasive species of mussels
B.C. government adds a second canine to help sniff out boats carrying an invasive species of mussels

They have been found in three provinces — Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba — and 34 states, including Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.

Zebra mussel larva has previously been found in Cedar Lake, Man., which is part of the Saskatchewan River system.

READ MORE: Zebra mussel larvae found in Lake of the Woods near Ontario-Minnesota border

In an effort to reduce the risk, all watercraft transported into Saskatchewan must have boat plugs removed.

They are also required to stop at inspection stations and submit to an inspection or risk a $500 fine.

It is illegal to bring prohibited aquatic invasive species into Saskatchewan.