The Manitoban government has introduced a proposed piece of new legislation in an effort to control the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) like zebra mussels.
Many jurisdictions across Canada and the United States face this problem and it is encouraging to see “efforts aimed at stopping the spread of this invasive species,” said David Carrick, founder and past-president of Fish Futures Inc. “We would hate to see anything impact the commercial and recreational fishery or see the kind of damage done in other areas where these mussels got a foothold.”
The proposed new AIS legislation includes:
- Prohibiting the possession, transportation, and release of aquatic invasive species;
- Requiring trailered watercraft to stop and allow an inspection of the watercraft and water-based gear at watercraft inspection stations;
- Designating control zones where restrictions and prohibitions could be established in specific areas to prevent the introduction or control the spread of an aquatic invasive species; and
- New tools for enforcement officers and watercraft inspectors that would detect, control, and prevent spreading.
“We know that fishers, boaters, and beach goers want to see our lakes stay healthy and we are determined to make every effort to do that,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. “This is a long-term fight and we are introducing the most comprehensive legislation in North America that would address the many challenges of containing zebra mussels and any other aquatic invasive species.”
Young zebra mussels, or veligers, are invisible to the naked eye and can survive in very little water. Adult zebra mussels are able to survive out of water up to 30 days depending on temperature and humidity. The mussels are often spread by hitching a ride on watercraft or water-based gear and move from one body of water into another.
“No angler wants to contribute to the spread of zebra mussels,” said Don Lamont, professional angling educator.”We all need to do our part so we can continue to enjoy all the fabulous fishing Manitoba lakes have to offer.”