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

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
East Sooke carpenter builds the ultimate tree fort

East Sooke Treehouse takes flight as an Airbnb

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
Wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Sidney’s Richard Talbot met Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip (here with Princess Anne) during their 1971 visit to Victoria as British Columbia celebrated the centenary of joining Confederation. This picture shows the royals relaxing as they sail from Vancouver to Victoria on May 3, 1971. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Croke)
Sidney man who met late Prince Philip twice remembers his wicked sense of humour

Richard Talbot first met the Duke of Edinburgh in 1971, then again in 2015

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read