Sustainable Development

Aquatic Invasive Species

How Zebra Mussels Can Spread?

Each year thousands of tourists, recreational boaters and anglers flock to Manitoba's numerous lakes and rivers. With this comes the threat of transporting zebra mussels overland to new areas on watercraft, trailers and gear.

Because they can close their shell, adult zebra mussels are able to survive out of water up to 7 to 30 days depending on temperature and humidity. As a result, they can easily be transported long distances on firm surfaces such as:

  • watercraft,
  • motors,
  • fishing nets,
  • aquatic plants/debris,
  • scuba equipment,
  • scientific sampling equipment,
  • float plane pontoons, and
  • related equipment.

Young, microscopic zebra mussels can die quickly out of water. However they can easily survive and be transported to new un-invaded areas in almost any remaining water found in (for example):

  • livewells,
  • motor compartment,
  • bait buckets, and / or
  • bilge, and/ or
  • pontoons

Once introduced into a new area, young (larval, free-swimming) Zebra Mussel veligers can spread by:

  • inter-connecting waterways
  • illegal bait-bucket transfers
  • watercraft bilge or livewell discharges
  • float plane pontoons and/or
  • the general movement of water from one place to another

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