Inspectors intercept boat with invasive mussels being brought into Saskatchewan

The Ministry of Environment said a boat they intercepted on July 3 near the Manitoba border had invasive mussels. Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment / Supplied

Measures to stop invasive mussels from entering Saskatchewan are proving to be successful, officials said.

The Ministry of Environment said they intercepted a boat on July 3 on Highway 16 near the Manitoba border.

Officials said a routine inspection turned up invasive mussels and they carried out a full decontamination of the boat.

Read more: Saskatchewan remains free of zebra and quagga mussels

The boat was being brought into Saskatchewan after being bought out-of-province, officials said.

“This is very good news, and shows that Saskatchewan’s efforts to protect our waterbodies from aquatic invasive species are working,” said Saskatchewan’s environment minister, Dustin Duncan.

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“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 province said it co-ordinates watercraft inspection with Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia to prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) from entering Western Canada.

Read more: Saskatchewan unveils new strategy to fight aquatic invasive species

Officials said the inspection station that intercepted the mussels opened in 2020 as part of the environment 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.”

It’s the second reported boat with invasive mussels intercepted in Saskatchewan this year.

Read more: Boat with invasive mussels intercepted at U.S.-Saskatchewan border, officials say

In the first incident, Canadian Border Services Agency officers identified the high-risk boat as it was being transported into the province from the U.S. by Canadian travellers at the end of March.

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The Ministry of Environment said an inspection during the week of May 18 turned up invasive mussels in a storage compartment.

In 2019, 3,100 watercraft were checked at inspection stations, with 1,147 deemed high-risk and decontamination carried out on 217 watercraft, the province reported earlier this year.

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

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