Legislation and Regulations

Provincial Set Fines for Aquatic Invasive Species

The Manitoba government streamlined the enforcement efforts aimed at ensuring water-users follow the required steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. As of October 17, 2018, enforcement officers have the option to issue a ticket, with a specific fine that can be paid voluntarily at court. To read the media release, click here.

Import Prohibitions for Aquatic Invasive Species

Canada Border Services Agency released Memorandum D19-8-5 (ISSN2369-2391) on March 23, 2016. This document advises importers, travelers, custom brokers, and service providers of the import prohibitions and requirements under the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation, (SOR/2015-121), in effect since May 29, 2015,

Federal Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations

The Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations under the federal Fisheries Act provide regulatory tools to prevent new introductions and manage spread of aquatic invasive species.

For more information on the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation under the Federal Fisheries Act visit: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/ais-eae/regulations/index-eng.html.

Provincial Aquatic Invasive Species Legislation

Manitoba government aquatic invasive species legislation under The Water Protection Act and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) regulations came into force in November 2015. The AIS regulations were amended and came into effect on May 24, 2017.

For more information visit The Water Protection Act

For more information visit Aquatic Invasive Species regulations under The Water Protection Act

Under this legislation, float planes and other water-related craft are considered conveyances similar to watercraft or off-road vehicles. The legislation includes general instructions (clean, drain, dry and dispose) and specific, stricter provisions, in place to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in Manitoba by watercraft, ORVs and water-related aircraft such as float planes and water bombers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need AIS legislation?

Invasive species are a growing global threat and are recognised as one of the most serious causes of native biodiversity loss. The introduction and spread of invasive species is negatively affecting Canada's environment, economy and society. As the prevalence of invasive species continues to rise in Canada and the United States, so does the threat and future impact to Manitoba.

Addressing aquatic invasive species is a complex and difficult challenge given:

  • the range of pathways and vectors of introduction and spread;
  • the range of species of concern;
  • the number and range of ecosystems that need to be protected;
  • the range of stakeholders involved; and
  • the complexity and severity of possible impacts that are involved.

The legislation was developed to support existing measures taken to prevent the spread of AIS into Manitoba and to allow for measures to be implemented to contain the spread of AIS within Manitoba.

The regulation addresses vectors for AIS spread including watercraft, water-related equipment, motor vehicles, and aircraft. Certain exemptions and provisions are in place to facilitate compliance under specific circumstances.

To whom does the legislation apply?

The legislation applies to everyone who uses a water body across the province from the general public to commercial operators.

The regulations target the method in which AIS are moved from one water body to another, namely watercraft, aircraft, motorized vehicles, water-related equipment and bait use. Individuals/operators will be required to take specified measures prior to entering and leaving a water body to prevent the movement of AIS from one water body to another.

When did the legislation come into effect?

The Manitoba Fishery Regulations, 1987 has had a prohibition on bringing into Manitoba, possessing and releasing zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species as early as 1999. The provincial AIS legislation under The Water Protection Act provides a more comprehensive suite of regulatory tools to deal with aquatic invasive species and came into effect on November 2, 2015. The provincial legislation complements the AIS Regulation under the federal Fisheries Act that came into effect in June 2015. Amended provincial AIS Regulation came into effect on May 24, 2017.

Overall, there are prohibitions against the importation, possession, transportation and release of aquatic invasive species in Manitoba.

What are the general cleaning requirements?

General cleaning requirements, also called Clean, Drain, Dry, and Dispose, apply to all users of Manitoba waters. The general cleaning provisions ensure that conveyances (watercraft, water-related equipment, motor vehicles, and water-related aircraft) are not spreading AIS.

There are also provisions to ensure the commercial harvesting and selling of live bait is done to minimize potential transfer of AIS.

Watercraft:

General provisions for watercraft require that before placing a watercraft into a water body, the watercraft must be free of:

  • AIS,
  • aquatic plants,
  • mud, and
  • standing water.

When watercraft are removed and before it is transported away from the shore of the water body, the watercraft must be inspected and:

  • free of AIS (except under a transportation authorization) and aquatic plants, and
  • drained of all water. This includes water from ballast tanks (if present), live wells, motor and any compartments that may collect water.

When transporting watercraft on land, a person must ensure that the drain plugs and all valves or other devices used to drain water (with the exception of onboard kitchen and washroom facilities) are removed or left open.

As well, ensure the motor vehicle and trailer transporting the watercraft are free of AIS and aquatic plants.

Water-related Equipment:

General provisions for water-related equipment (e.g. bait bucket, watercraft trailer, PFDs, swim inflatables, nets), require it to be inspected and:

  • free of AIS and aquatic plants, and
  • drained of all water, except where allowed under the regulation (e.g. water-hauling, water-testing samples, etc) before the equipment is transported away from the shore of the water body.

In addition, before placing water-related equipment into a water body, the water-related equipment must be dried completely or decontaminated per Schedule C of the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation.

Motor Vehicles:

General provisions for motor vehicles require that before placing a motor vehicle (e.g. ORV, truck transporting trailered watercraft) into a water body the motor vehicle must be:

  • free of AIS,
  • aquatic plants,
  • mud, and
  • standing water.

When transporting watercraft on land, motor vehicles must be free of AIS and aquatic plants.

Aircraft:

General provisions for aircraft require that immediately before taking off from a water body, the operator of an aircraft must inspect the aircraft and any external accessories (e.g. pontoons, rudders, cables) and remove:

  • AIS,
  • aquatic plants, and
  • mud.

General provisions also require that water drained from the float or pontoon of an aircraft, must be collected in a container and disposed on land where it cannot drain into a water body.

Exemptions:

Exemptions for the general cleaning provisions for watercraft and water-related equipment include allowing watercraft and water-related equipment to be removed from a water body and left on shore or in close proximity to the same water body from which they were removed as long as they are placed back at the same access site in the same water body from which they were removed. Any AIS present must still be removed when removing and before placing it into a water body.

Aquatic Invasive Species Reporting Requirements:

There is a general reporting requirement where a person who discovers an AIS in Manitoba must notify the AIS director as soon as practicable and provide all information they have regarding it. Reporting to the AIS director is not required if a person finds an AIS in a control zone established for that species with the exception of reporting zebra mussels or spiny waterflea in the Nelson River Control Zone and the Saskatchewan River/Cedar Lake Control Zone.

These zones were established to control the spread of zebra mussels due to the high risk of these zone becoming invaded either through natural (receives water from an invaded water body) or human (e.g. boater) movement. Zebra mussels have not been detected in any of the water bodies listed within these control zones with the exception of Cedar Lake. Therefore it is necessary to report zebra mussels if found within these two control zones.

Bait Harvesters and Bait Dealers:

General provisions also exist for commercial bait harvesters which require live bait that is harvested to be placed, transported, stored, and sold in potable water or groundwater only.

General provisions for commercial bait dealers require that live bait be stored and sold in containers or receptacles that contain only potable or ground water.

What control measures are being put in place for live bait use?

Under the existing Manitoba Fishery Regulations, 1987, one can collect and use live bait in a water body but that bait must not be transported to any other water body. In addition, purchased live bait can be kept (and moved from one water body to the next) for three days from the date of purchase. Individuals must retain the slip and/or receipt provided upon purchase. However, under the provincial AIS legislation any bait used in a control zone water body must be discarded before leaving the shore of the water body. Commercial bait harvesters and dealers are also required to store and sell bait only in potable water or ground water.

What is the purpose of control zones?

Control zones are established in areas where there is known AIS and include areas where an AIS may naturally spread due to natural water moment. Generally control zones allow for prescribing additional requirements or restricting certain activities, etc. that could lead to the spread of AIS from that zone or within that zone. More stringent decontamination measures are required for watercraft, aircraft, water-related equipment – in addition to clean, drain, dry and dispose - before they can be placed into another water body.

Where are the control zones?

Six control zones have been designated under the provincial AIS regulation. Each control zone includes the outlined water bodies in addition to the portion of each tributary that enters a water body identified in a control zone from the mouth of that tributary to the upstream portion that is no longer navigable. That is the first impassible barrier.

Central Control Zone consists of the:

  • Red River from the United States border to its entry in to Lake Winnipeg;
  • Lake Winnipeg;
  • the portion of the Winnipeg River from Pine Falls generating station to its entry into Lake Winnipeg;
  • the portion of the Saskatchewan River from the Grand Rapids generating station to its entry into Lake Winnipeg; and
  • the portion of each tributary that flows into these water bodies from the mouth up to the first impassible barrier.

This zone prevents the introduction and controls the spread of zebra mussels and spiny waterflea.

Nelson River Control Zone consists of the:

  • Nelson River from Lake Winnipeg to its entry into Hudson Bay, including all lakes, rivers, channels and other water bodies through which the Nelson River passes;
  • Kiskitto Lake;
  • Kiskittogisu Lake;
  • Scatch Lake;
  • Goose Hunting Lake;
  • Cauchon Lake;
  • Prud'homme Lake;
  • Archibald Lake;
  • Bruneau Lake;
  • Bulger Lake;
  • Walker Lake;
  • Drunken Lake;
  • Hill Lake; and
  • the portion of each tributary the flows into any of these water bodies from the mouth up to the first impassible barrier.

This zone prevents the introduction and controls the spread of zebra mussels.

Whiteshell Control Zone consists of:

  • Betula Lake,
  • Jessica Lake,
  • White Lake;
  • the downstream portion of the Whiteshell River from Jessica Lake to Betula Lake, and
  • the portion of each tributary that enters these water bodies from the mouth up to the first impassable barrier.

This zone is established to prevent the introduction and control the spread of black algae.

Buffalo Bay Control Zone consists of:

  • the portion of Buffalo Bay in the Lake of the Woods that is located in Manitoba, and
  •  the portion of each tributary that flows into Buffalo Bay from the mouth to the first impassible barrier.

This zone is established to control the spread of spiny waterflea.

Winnipeg River Control Zone consists of:

  • portions of the Winnipeg River from the Ontario border to the Pine Falls generating station,
  • all the lakes, river and channels and other water bodies through which the Winnipeg River passes; and
  • the portion of each tributary that flows into any of these water bodies from the mouth up to the first impassable barrier.

This zone is established to prevent the introduction and control the spread of spiny waterflea.

Saskatchewan River/Cedar Lake Control Zone consists of:

  • the portion of the Saskatchewan River from the Saskatchewan border to the Grand Rapids generating station, and
  • all the lakes, river and channels and other water bodies through which that portion of the Saskatchewan River passes;
  • Cedar Lake;
  • South Moose Lake;
  • North Moose Lake;
  • East Moose Lake;
  • Red Earth Lake;
  • Driftwood Lake;
  • Traders Lake; and
  • the portion of each tributary that flows into any of these water bodies from the mouth up to the first impassible barrier.

This zone prevents the introduction and controls the spread of zebra mussels.


What are the decontamination requirements in Control Zones?
Decontamination of watercraft and water-related equipment:

In addition to the general cleaning requirements that apply across Manitoba, watercraft and water-related equipment that have been placed in a water body in a control zone are also required to be decontaminated before they can be placed into a different water body. Decontamination is not required if the watercraft and water-related equipment is dedicated to that water body and will not be used elsewhere. Individuals can either have their watercraft and water-related equipment decontaminated:

  • At a provincial Control Station (watercraft inspection station)
  • According to approved decontamination methods provided in Schedule B and Schedule C of the regulation with additional guidance provided on the departmental AIS website.
Mooring of Aircraft:

An aircraft must not be moored in zebra mussel infested waters for longer than 12 hours unless their floats or pontoons are treated with antifouling paint which is maintained in good condition.

Disposal of Bait:

A person who possesses bait in a control zone has to discard any remaining bait on land, preferably in a garbage, before they leave the shore of the water body. This means for those water bodies where live bait use is allowed, and you have purchased the bait, the three day rule for possessing the bait does not apply.

Restrictions on water:

If you remove water from a control zone water body that water cannot be dumped into another water or within 30 meters of another water body.

What are Control Stations?

Temporary or permanent Control Stations or watercraft inspections stations can be set up near water bodies, along highways or at border crossings to inspect waterrcraft, vehicles and water related equipment for AIS. Control stations aim to:

  • Educate the public about the threat of AIS;
  • Demonstrates to people how to inspect and properly Clean, Drain, and Dry watercraft and water-related equipment, and reminds people to Dispose unused bait in the trash;
  • Identifies and prevents the risk of AIS transfer through inspecting watercraft, trailer, and water-related equipment;
  • Conducts decontaminations of watercraft, trailer, and water-related equipment to ensure compliance with Manitoba AIS laws

If a watercraft is deemed to a high risk or have AIS present individuals will be required either to 1) have their equipment cleaned on site if the appropriate equipment is available, and/or 2) through a decontamination order follow decontamination requirements within a specified timeframe.

When signs are up, vehicles transporting water craft and water related equipment are required to stop and allow their water craft, water-related equipment and motor vehicle to be inspected for AIS.

What officer and inspector powers are provided under the Legislation?

Under the legislation, an officer or inspector may:

  • Conduct surveys for AIS on land or water;
  • Examine, conduct tests or take samples to detect AIS;
  • Restrict access to an area where an AIS might be present;
  • Issue a decontamination or control order; and
  • Carry out actions to control, remove or prevent the spread of an AIS

Officers have additional duties respecting carrying out the enforcement of the legislation.

Where can I read about the Provincial AIS Legislation?

Manitoba has aquatic invasive species legislation under The Water Protection Act. The links to the legislation can be found below:

The Water Protection Act

The Aquatic Invasive Species Regulation under The Water Protection Act

Where can I find more information on AIS or how to report a discovery?

More information on AIS and how to report a discovery can be found by visiting:

www.manitoba.ca/StopAIS or calling Manitoba's Invasive Species hotline at 1-877-867-2470 (toll-free).