Quagga and Zebra mussel are posing a serious threat to BC waterways. This destructive invasive species is a prolific breeder. One mature female can produce up to 1 million microscopic larva each year. The mussels disrupt the ecosystem through rapid colonization and can have a devastating impact on freshwater recreation by damaging fish habitat, hatcheries, boats, docks, and other aquatic assets. Beaches become littered with extremely sharp shells that cause serious, deep cuts and infection.
The economic impact of mussel colonization can be staggering. The free-swimming larva are so small they can’t be seen by the human eye. They drift for 3-4 weeks before attaching to a substrata enabling them to travel large distances and enter facilities through water pipes. As the larva grow in a pipe, on a screen, or in some other vessel they block the water flow and must be removed if possible. This can be a very expensive process and must be repeated. This can have devastating effect on municipal water treatment systems, hydro-electric dams, recreational facilities, and industry. The fiscal burden is usually passed on to the taxpayer or ratepayer, so everyone loses.
These invaders usually spread to new water basins by hitching a ride on boats, trailers, canoes, and other water toys. They can survive out of water for up to a week, but if attached to a damp boat they can survive for a month or more.
Keep these mussels out of our waterways! It is imperative to drain and dry your boat, and you MUST stop at all B.C. Watercraft Inspection Stations.