The results are in, and the news is good: the Government of Saskatchewan’s monitoring program detected no invasive mussels in 123 waterbodies sampled throughout the province last year.
“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 2019, the ministry checked more than 3,100 watercraft for signs of aquatic invasive species (AIS), identifying 1,147 as high-risk and requiring further inspection. In all, 217 watercraft were decontaminated and no AIS were found.
Anyone transporting watercraft in Saskatchewan must remove the boat plug, stop at watercraft inspection stations and submit to inspection, or risk a $500 fine. It is also illegal to bring prohibited aquatic invasive species into Saskatchewan.
The ministry works co-operatively with the province’s AIS Task Force, which includes other government agencies, conservation and other non-government organizations and universities on additional education and monitoring activities. Saskatchewan also partners with Canada Border Services Agency and other provincial and territorial governments to co-ordinate prevention efforts across western Canada.
AIS, such as zebra and quagga mussels, threaten lakes and rivers in western Canada. They can severely affect aquatic habitat, fisheries, valuable recreational resources and important infrastructure for irrigation, power generation and municipal water supplies. Invasive mussels are now found in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and in 34 states, including Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.
For more information about AIS and fishing, check the Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide and online at www.saskatchewan.ca/fishing.