Manitoba Government Proclaims New Legislation Aimed At Stopping Spread Of Zebra Mussels

Last Updated: 2015/11/03 09:22:38 AM

Clean, Drain, Dry and Dispose Now Law:  Minister Nevakshonoff

November 2, 2015--The Manitoba government has proclaimed new comprehensive aquatic invasive species legislation under the Water Protection Act, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff announced today.

“This legislation will add to a number of measures already in place specifically aimed at preventing the spread of zebra mussels,” said Minister Nevakshonoff.  “There are many challenges to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Manitoba, such as zebra mussels, and we need to continue to sharpen and strengthen the tools in place as well as the co-operation of all those who use our waters.”

Highlights of the AIS legislation include:
• listing those species which are considered invasive including the addition of aquatic plants;
• prohibiting the possession, transportation and release of aquatic invasive species;
• using control stations and a legal requirement for motor vehicles with a watercraft to stop and allow an inspection for AIS;
• prescribing general cleaning measures for watercraft, motor vehicles such as ATVs and aircraft as well as water-related equipment such as fishing gear, trailers, ropes and anchors for all water bodies in Manitoba;
• identifying aquatic invasive species control zones;
• adding decontamination requirements and provisions for watercraft, water-related equipment, motor vehicles and aircraft that have been in a water body in a control zone; and
• adding a reporting requirement for any person who finds an aquatic invasive species in Manitoba outside a water body where they are known to exist.

The principles of clean, drain, dry and dispose are now law and must be completed when leaving any water body in Manitoba, the minister said.  The measures are to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and to prevent the introduction of new threats like quagga mussels and Asian carp into Manitoba, he added.

The spread of zebra mussels is preventable.  Manitobans and visitors must take the proper steps before leaving any water body to:
• clean and remove any visible aquatic plants, AIS or mud from the watercraft, trailer and all
water-related equipment;
• drain all water from motor, bilge, bait buckets and any compartments;
• dry all water-related equipment and any hard-to-drain compartments that have contacted the water with a dry towel or sponge before it is used in any other body of water; and
• dispose of unused bait and worms in the trash.

Manitobans are reminded that under the new provincial AIS legislation and under the federal Fisheries Act, it is illegal to possess or transport zebra mussels.  Penalties for possessing zebra mussels may result in fines or prosecution under either act.

To report a zebra mussel or any other AIS from a location, take pictures and visit the website at www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/waterstewardship/stopais/ or call
1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470).