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Government of Manitoba
Conservation and Water Stewardship
Aquatic Invasive Species

Watercraft Inspectors Program

The Manitoba government launched its annual watercraft inspection program and awareness campaign in the fight against zebra mussels and other Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) on May 28, 2015.

The AIS program has greatly expanded since it began in 2000 and now has an increased number of watercraft inspectors on the landscape as well as six decontamination units that rotate around the province to high traffic boating areas. The decontamination units operate using hot water and high pressure to kill and remove AIS from watercrafts and water-based equipment.

The objectives of the Watercraft Inspection Program are to prevent the introduction of AIS into Manitoba and prevent the spread of AIS from invaded water bodies within Manitoba to non-invaded water bodies.

These objectives are achieved by:

  • Educating the public about the threat of AIS
  • Demonstrating to individuals the actions they must take to CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY their watercraft and DISPOSE of unused bait; and
  • Identifying and preventing the risk of AIS transfer through inspecting watercraft and decontaminating when necessary.

In 2014, decontamination units were taken to locations such as the Emerson border crossing, Selkirk Park, Winnipeg Beach, Gimli, Pine Falls boat launches as well as many other high traffic locations throughout the province. More than 2800 watercrafts were inspected and 136 were decontaminated.

So far in 2015, the decontamination units have been located at Selkirk Park, the International border crossings at Emerson and Boissevain, and at Pine Falls. Units have also been rotated between Assessippi Provincial Park and The Pas. In less than 2 months over 1000 inspections have already been conducted and 70 decontaminations. In addition, specially trained detection dogs are available to help find zebra mussels on watercraft and water-related equipment.

Members of the public are encouraged to report Aquatic Invasive Species, including zebra mussels. Please take pictures and visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/waterstewardship/stopais/ or call toll-free 1-877-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470).

What are Invasive Species?

Organisms (animals, plants, parasites, viruses etc) not native to a region that when introduced, either intentionally or accidentally, out-compete native species for available resources. Invasive species become successful in their new environments due to their high reproductive rates and absence of native predators and diseases. Invasive species can have negative economic, social, environmental and health implications.

What are Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)?

An aquatic invasive species (AIS) can either live in freshwater or marine environments. The majority of the species of concern to Manitoba, such as Zebra and Quagga mussels, Spiny Waterflea, Rusty Crayfish and Asian Carp are freshwater species. Manitoba currently has 15 aquatic invasive species. This number is small compared to the number found in the Great Lakes (>200) and Mississippi (> 120) drainage basins.

Zebra Mussels in Lake Winnipeg

Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) were confirmed in Lake Winnipeg in the fall of 2013.

Zebra Mussels are small, clam-like, aquatic animals that are a significant environmental and economic concern to Manitoba. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Zebra Mussels have caused millions of dollars in damage to the Laurentian Great Lakes area and have cost the North American economy billions of dollars to control. Despite the successful eradication of Zebra Mussels in the four treated harbours in Lake Winnipeg in 2014, Zebra Mussels were found elsewhere in the south basin and are successfully reproducing. Lake Winnipeg is in the early stages of invasion by Zebra Mussels – eradication is no longer an option

Zebra Mussels can be extremely hard to find. Adult Zebra Mussels have a shell and can strongly attach to watercraft and other water-based equipment. They can survive out of water for 7 to 30 days depending on temperature and humidity. Young Zebra Mussels, called veligers, are invisible to the naked eye. They can be inadvertently spread in water carried in un-drained watercraft and water-based equipment.

An adult Zebra Mussel

Many microscopic Zebra Mussel veligers
found in a small sample of water

All Water Users – Stop the Spread of Zebra Mussels

CLEAN + DRAIN + DRY your watercraft, trailer and all water-related equipment and
DISPOSE of any unwanted bait in the trash.

To report an Aquatic Invasive Species click Here

Other Aquatic Invasive Species
Rusty Crayfish

The Rusty Crayfish Image

Photo Courtesy of DFO
Zebra Mussel

The Zebra Mussel Image

Photo Courtesy of Ohio Sea Grant
Asian Carp

Asian Carp Image
Spiny Waterflea

Spiny Waterflea / Fishhook Waterflea Image
Invasive Giant Reed

Invasive Giant Reed Image
Round Goby

Round Goby Image
Eurasian Watermilfoil

Eurasian Watermilfoil Image
Curly-leaf Pondweed

Curly-leaf Pondweed Image
Quagga Mussel

Zebra Mussel/ Quagga Mussel Image
Fishhook Waterflea

Spiny Waterflea Image

If you think you have encountered an aquatic invasive species, or need further information, please contact:

Manitoba Conservation & Water Stewardship, Fisheries Branch
Box 20, 200 Saulteaux Cres.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3J 3W3

Telephone: (204) 945-7787
Fax: (204) 948-2308
Toll Free: (877) 867-2470
Email: fish@gov.mb.ca

To report an Aquatic Invasive Species click Here
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