Manitoba has announced actions to protect Lake Winnipeg from invasive zebra mussels, which have been found in harbours at Gimli, Willow Point, Boundary Creek Marina/Winnipeg Beach, and Balsam Bay. The province has invested $500,000 to use liquid potash in efforts to eradicate the invasive species.
“Our first priority is to make sure fishers continue to fish and protect the health of our commercial fishery industry and of Lake Winnipeg,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. “Failure to take immediate action would severely impact Manitoba’s local commercial- and sport-fishing tourism industries and threaten waters downstream.”
The mussels were first discovered on Lake Winnipeg in fall 2013. In reaction, the province assembled a science advisory committee comprised of leading experts in the field of aquatic-invasive species and launched extensive monitoring of the south basin of the lake.
“Since 2013, we have been consulting with municipal leaders and those whose livelihood depend on Lake Winnipeg,” the minister added. “We all want to prevent what we have seen from other jurisdictions. […] the zebra mussel can devastate livelihoods, the fishing industry, communities, and destroy fish and other aquatic populations.”