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Ontario boater fined at B.C. border after inspection finds invasive mussels

An recent inspection of a boat arriving in B.C. from Ontario detected invasive mussels, leading to decontamination efforts. (Facebook/BCCOS) An recent inspection of a boat arriving in B.C. from Ontario detected invasive mussels, leading to decontamination efforts. (Facebook/BCCOS)

The BC Conservation Officer Service says a specially trained dog recently helped stop an Ontario boat with invasive mussels on board from entering B.C. waters.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the service said it stopped the vessel at its watercraft inspection station in Golden, B.C. The BCCOS did not specify when the inspection occurred. 

"The inspection led to the discovery of invasive mussels, at which time specialized equipment was used to decontaminate the watercraft," the post reads. "Kilo, one of two BCCOS interdiction detection dogs trained to detect invasive mussels, indicated a positive presence."

According to the service, some mussels are so tiny that they can be affixed to internal and out-of-reach engine parts.

Because Kilo detected mussels after the initial decontamination, officers issued a mandatory 30-day quarantine period for the boat, which was also sealed, the BCCOS said.

Officers issued a $230 ticket to the vessel's owner for the possession and unlawful transport of a prohibited species in B.C.

"This incident highlights the effectiveness of how mandatory watercraft inspection stations, and co-operation and collaboration with program partners, are helping to prevent invasive mussels from entering B.C. waterways," the service said.

The BCCOS encourages all boaters to follow the "clean, drain, dry" approach whenever they remove their vessels from bodies of water. The process involves removing all visible plants, animals, dirt and mud from the vessel, draining any areas on the boat that hold water whenever possible, and allowing the craft to dry completely before launching it again. 

B.C.'s Invasive Mussel Defence Program encourages "clean, drain, dry" and requires vessel owners to stop for inspection at all watercraft inspection stations along their travel route. 

The goal is to stop the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, which are not native to North America and pose a serious threat to B.C.'s aquatic ecosystems, as well as salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure. Top Stories

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