How You Can Help

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To protect Manitoba's waters and valuable aquatic resources from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, you can help:

  • Learn how to identify aquatic invasive species.
  • Learn about, and how to comply with Manitoba's Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations under The Water Protection Act. Also there are Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations under the Federal Fisheries Act.
  • Learn how the AIS Regulations pertain to:
  • Learn how all water-users play an important role in protecting our water bodies from AIS by learning:
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. All bait used in an AIS control zone must be disposed of on shore before leaving the water body. Information on bait use and AIS, can be found here.
  • Learn about the importation rules for bringing bait, watercraft and water-related equipment into Canada.
    • Only worms in paper bedding can be imported at bait.
    • It is illegal to import zebra mussels, quagga mussels, bighead carp, silver carp, black carp or grass carp into Canada.
    • Watercraft entering Canada must be clean, drained and dry.
  • Do not release any aquarium or water garden plants, animals or water into any Manitoba water body.
  • Report new AIS sightings to the Aquatic Invasive Species hotline at 1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470) or online here:
    • Note the exact location and date of sighting. Take several pictures of the specimen. The picture will be used to help with identification.
  • Inform others on how they can help prevent the spread of AIS.
Watercraft

To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, all water-users must take the following steps before launching or moving watercraft (ex: Jet Skis®, canoes), water-related equipment (ex: trailers, removable docks, fishing gear, anchors), aircraft (ex: float planes), motor or off-road vehicles (ORVs) from one water body into another water body:

Before launching a watercraft or placing water-related equipment into a water body in Manitoba, ensure they are free of:

  • aquatic invasive species,
  • aquatic plants,
  • mud, and
  • standing water.

When draining standing water, ensure it does not enter any water body or storm sewer. Use a dry towel to remove any residual water found in compartments.

When removing a watercraft or water-related equipment from a water body in Manitoba:

1. CLEAN and remove AIS and aquatic plants before leaving the shore of the water body.

Inspect the watercraft and water-related equipment, including the trailer and motor vehicle visually. Meanwhile, run your hands over the surfaces that were submerged in the water (ex: hull, lower unit of motor, trailer). AIS such as recently settled zebra mussels feel like sandpaper, but may not be noticeable to the naked eye.

components of tyical boat

Common places where aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels can be found on a watercraft, and water-related equipment such as the trailer and anchor.

2. DRAIN all water from the watercraft (ex: ballast tanks, motor, live well, compartments) and water-related equipment (ex: bait bucket) before leaving the shore.

ALL drain plugs must be kept out while transporting watercraft over land with the exception of plugs used in onboard kitchen and washroom facilities.

3. DRY completely or decontaminate water- related equipment before placing into another water body.

Any hard-to-drain areas or compartments of a watercraft or water-related equipment should be dried with a towel. Leave live wells, bait buckets and storage compartment doors open to allow for drying. Note:

Drying times increase greatly in the spring and fall due to increased humidity and lower temperatures.

Larval zebra mussels, called veligers require water to survive and will die out of water. Adult zebra mussels (with shells) can survive up to 30 days out of water in damp, cool conditions.

4. DISPOSE of all bait used in a provincial-designated control zone water body in the trash prior to leaving the shore. This is regardless of possessing a 3-day live bait fish transfer and use receipt. For more information on control zones, click here. Always dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Refer to the Manitoba Anglers' Guide for more information on bait use.

5. DECONTAMINATE IF watercraft or water-related equipment were used last in a provincially-designated control zone and before placing into another water body. For more information on control zones, click here. Information on how to decontaminate watercraft or water-related equipment can be found here.

Report an Aquatic Invasive Species online, or call 1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470) if you discover:

  • zebra mussels in a water body other than Lake Winnipeg or the Red River,
  • AIS outside an area not designated as a control zone for that species, or
  • a new AIS.

Aquatic Invasive species such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels, spiny waterflea, rusty crayfish, and four species of invasive (Asian) carp are listed in schedules attached to the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation (SOR/2015-0212) under the federal Fisheries Act and the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations under The Water Protection Act. Possessing any of these listed species in Manitoba is illegal. To learn about the species subject to prohibitions and controls visit the federal Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation site at the Canadian government's law website, by clicking here.

Water-related Equipment Users

What to do when using water-related equipment in a water body in Manitoba?

To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), all water-users must take the following steps before moving water-related equipment from one water body into another water body. These requirements are in effect year round.

Water-related equipment is equipment that is used in water such as watercraft trailers, removable docks, fishing gear, nets, PFDs, scuba gear, anchor, bait bucket, auger, scientific equipment, construction equipment, floatable devices, paddle boards and a child's sand pail.

What to do before placing water-related equipment into a water body:

Before placing water-related equipment into a water body, it must be:

  • Clean, which means free of aquatic invasive species, aquatic plants and mud
  • Drained of all water. If there is water present, it must be drained so it does not drain into any water body or down a storm drain.

What to do when removing water-related equipment from a water body:

Similar to watercraft, whenever water-related equipment is removed from a water body in Manitoba, and prior to leaving the shore, it must be:

  • Clean, that is, free of aquatic invasive species and aquatic plants
  • Drained of all water

Prior to placing the water-related equipment into another water body, it must be dried completely. If drying cannot be done prior to placing the water-related equipment into another water body, it must be decontaminated.

Water-related equipment can be moved away from the shore of the water body once it is clean and drained however, it cannot be placed into another water body unless it is dried completely or has been decontaminated.

Before leaving the shore of a water body, the back end of the motor vehicle must be checked to ensure it is also free of AIS and aquatic plants.

What to do when removing water-related equipment from a provincially-designated control zone water body and before placing it into another water body?

Whenever water-related equipment is removed from a provincially-designated control zone water body, they must be cleaned and drained at the shore before leaving the waterbody. The water-related equipment must also be decontaminated AND dried prior to placing the water-related equipment into another water body.

If you are returning the water-related equipment to the same water body or another water body within the same control zone you are not required to decontaminate and completely dry the equipment. This requirement is just needed when you take your water-related equipment to a different water body outside of that control zone.

Also, before leaving any water body within a control zone, you must dispose of all bait in the trash. For more information on bait, bait use and aquatic invasive species.

What to do when removing water-related equipment from water body in Manitoba in the winter (ice-covered) months?

In winter, aquatic invasive species can be spread by water-related equipment being moved from one water body to another. The requirements for water-related equipment apply year round thus taking the following precautions can help to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species during the winter (or ice-covered) months.

When removing water-related equipment, such as an auger, from a water body it is not necessary to remove any built-up ice that formed on the water-related equipment prior to leaving the shore of the water body. However prior to leaving the shore of the water body, water-related equipment still must be free of aquatic invasive species and aquatic plants.

All the requirements apply as stated above for water-related equipment being used in the winter or ice-covered season.

Water-related Aircraft Operators

Water-related aircraft such as float planes and water bombers can spread aquatic invasive species (AIS). They can harbour AIS such as adult zebra mussel, which can attach to submersed areas such as floats, pontoons and other water-related equipment. Zebra mussel larvae are microscopic and can be found inside any space that holds water.

Regulations under the federal Fisheries Act and Manitoba's The Water Protection Act apply to water-related aircraft. Overall, it is illegal to possess AIS, such as zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, black algae and rusty crayfish in Manitoba. Combined, federal and provincial legislation aims at preventing the introduction and spread of AIS.

water aircraft

How You Can Help

Immediately before taking off from a water body in Manitoba, the aircraft operator must inspect the water-related aircraft paying special attention to the areas of the plane (floats, cables, rudders) or water-related equipment (ropes) that are in contact or have been in contact with water from the water body. The following are the legal steps, called the general cleaning provisions, for water-related aircraft:

  1. Immediately before taking off from a water body, the operator of the aircraft must inspect the aircraft's floats or pontoons, cables, wires, ropes and anchors and ensure they are free of:
    • aquatic invasive species,
    • aquatic plants, and
    • mud

    A pre-flight walk-around can assist in locating any attached aquatic plants or mud. Float plane operators are advised to lay face-down on the pontoon and run their hands along the pontoon at and below the waterline to thoroughly examine the entire pontoon surface underwater. The pontoons, unless treated with anti-fouling paint should be relatively smooth. Pay special attention to the feeling of the surface of the pontoons or equipment. If the pontoons or water-related equipment feels like sandpaper, this could be small, adult zebra mussels attaching.

    The AIS, aquatic plants (such as noticeable build-up of algae or vegetation) and mud must be removed from the aircraft prior to leaving the water body. The pontoons can be cleaned using decontamination methods or removed with an appropriate plastic scraper or scrub brush.

  2. If water is drained from the float or pontoon of an aircraft, the water must be collected into a container and disposed on land so that it does not drain into a water body.

In addition, more strict measures are in place where AIS, such as zebra mussels have established. These areas are called control zones. Control zones are areas in which AIS have been found or are expected to spread. The stricter measures pertaining to control zones are in addition to the general cleaning provisions and they apply to watercraft, ORVs and water-related aircraft being removed from control zones.

Aircraft cannot be moored in the Central Control Zone the Nelson River Control Zone or the Saskatchewan River/Cedar Lake Control Zone for longer than 12 hours unless the aircraft’s floats or pontoons are treated with anti-fouling paint maintained in good condition. For a control zone map, please click here.

Anti-fouling paint is paint treated with biocides or other products intended to prevent the attachment or slow the growth of organisms. Note: Anti-fouling paint must state on the label the paint is to prevent attachment of zebra mussels. Also, antifouling paint not approved by Health Canada cannot legally be used in Canada.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency regulates the use of anti-fouling paint for use in Canada. For more information, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/index-eng.php.