The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)

Conservation inspects more than 600 B.C. stores for invasive mussels

Since found to be sold in Washington, two B.C. residents find invasive mussels within product

A week after discovering invasive mussels sold in a pet store in Terrace, B.C. conservation officers have inspected more than 600 retail stores in the provinces.

In addition to the ones found in Terrace last week, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has discovered an additional instance of the invasive mussels, in Invermere.

Additionally, the government of B.C. announced March 9 that zebra mussels in moss balls were found in the Lower Mainland.

“People have also reported finding the mussel-infested moss balls in their aquariums across western Canada and several U.S. states,” states the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Last week, the B.C. CO Service was notified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the invasive Zebra mussels were being sold at Petco in Seattle. As Petco is associated with other suppliers in Canada such as Pet Smart, this triggered a large response by conservation officers.

READ MORE: Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

“We’re hitting them, and hitting them hard,” said Sgt. Josh Lockwood with the BC Conservation Officer Service.

On March 10, a woman called the CO Service from Invermere, saying she found some Zebra Mussels within a product she ordered online. However, Lockwood confirmed none of the mussels have been found in stores in the Okanagan, to date.

Zebra Mussels have been known to populate and take over freshwater bodies of water, sucking the nutrients from them and depriving native species of food. One female can have up to one million babies a year. They are prohibited in Western Canada.

In places like Osoyoos, the introduction of these invasive mussels could massively impact the salmon run.

Other bodies of water like Lake Winnipeg (Manitoba), Lake Mead (Nevada), Paradise Lake (Arizona), where the mussels have already set up shop, have been drastically affected. One can’t visit the beach in bare feet, because there are too many razor-sharp shells, Lockwood explained.

He further explained the mussels have a huge impact on tourism, water, agriculture, hydro, power – something that would cost B.C. about $42 million per year if they reach provincial waters.

“They’re almost impossible to eradicate, that’s the problem,” said Lockwood. “This is a concern to everybody so we’re trying to stop the importation of these into the country.”

Those who think they have found a Zebra mussel should also contact the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. Proper disposal includes placing the mussels in a plastic bag for 24 hours, then boil them for a minute, then place them back into the bag once they’ve cooled, and dispose of them in the trash.

Another instance of invasive species being introduced in B.C. has affected residents and recreation near Summerland.

Beginning April 1 and until further notice, Garnet Lake in Summerland will be closed to angling. The reason for the provincial government’s announcement is the illegal introduction of large-mouth bass into the lake.

READ MORE: Garnet Lake closed to fishing as of April 1

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Water

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A screenshot taken from the Parksville city council meeting on Monday, April 19, where members of the Friends of the Parksville Community Centre presented the results of an ongoing online petition. Parksville city council is shown top left, David Todtman is shown top right, and Valerie Dare is shown at the bottom. (Via Youtube)
Friends of the Parksville Community Centre members present online petition to city council

Nearly 2,600 signatures collected in bid to keep facility as community gathering place

The scene of a single-vehicle crash along Dolphin Drive in Nanoose Bay on Monday morning, April 19. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP: No injuries reported in rollover crash in Nanoose Bay

Police say passengers indicate driver left the scene

The Town of Qualicum Beach plans to establish temporary shelters. (Town of Qualicum Beach illustration)
Town of Qualicum Beach seeks $1.25M grant to build temporary housing units

Aim is to move tenants in prior to the end of 2021

Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association and its Nanaimo-Ladysmith counterpart seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (PQB News file photo)
Mount Arrowsmith teachers’ union asks health authority for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Most Read