Kelowna, B.C. – Provincial mussel inspection stations only opened April 1, but already the stats show the need for a stronger program says the Okanagan Basin Water Board. As such, the OBWB has sent letters to the Province of B.C. and federal government, calling for increased enforcement.
According to the province, as of June 6, their five stations along the B.C.-Alberta border, and three along the B.C.-Washington border have inspected 3,200 watercraft, of which 124 were identified as high-risk for invasive mussels. Of these 124, six were transporting adult invasive mussels and 16 were quarantined to meet the required 30-day drying time. Of the six carrying mussels, there’s a strong chance that they were alive, says government staff.
“We’ve been calling for action since 2012, concerned that we were at risk for an infestation of zebra and/or quagga mussels. But these stats demonstrate this is a real possibility,” said OBWB Chair Doug Findlater. “Remember, one mussel can reproduce a million. It only takes one to devastate our lakes, our drinking water, tourism, fishery, beaches and economy.”