In an attempt to prevent aquatic invasive species, boaters entering British Columbia waters will face closer scrutiny.
Boaters are also being urged to clean, drain and dry their boats.
“So far, B.C. is free of zebra and quagga mussels, but we all must be vigilant to ensure these invasive species do not get into our lakes, streams and wetlands,” said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C.
There are around 133 aquatic invasive species in the province. They include Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, parrotfeather, largemouth bass, red eared slider turtle, rusty crayfish and American bullfrog.
Zebra and quagga mussels, if introduced to B.C. waters, would cost an estimated $43 million a year in damages to infrastructure, hydropower facilities, water extraction activities and recreational boaters, as well as their impacts on fish stocks.
At present there are three boat inspection teams, based in Nelson, Invermere and Penticton.
If you see or suspect a boat that has come into B.C. and could be contaminated, do not attempt to clean it as special training is needed. Contact the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.