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

Staff and residents from RMV show their appreciation for the volunteers who enrich their lives. From left to right: Shelley Moulton, Darlene Hutchinson, Betty Schanni, Mark Hudock, Victor Myette, Elinor Siska, Melissa Roger, Anita Braconnier. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
‘We can’t wait for you to come back’: Rocky Mountain Village residents show appreciation for volunteers

Volunteers can’t make in-person visits, but that hasn’t stopped them staying in touch

Members of the community garden hosted their first seed swap and fundraiser at the Greenwood Mall in Sparwood on Monday. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood Community Garden hosts first seed swap

Work on the garden at Engelmann Spruce Drive will begin soon

Crews and volunteers responded to a four-hectare wildfire on the lower half of the Aqam community lands near Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.
Wildfire season gets early start in the East Kootenay

Fire crews, volunteers respond to two local wildfires, while prescribed burns turn weekend skies smoky

A conceptual image of a multi-family housing development envisioned by Abugov Kaspar Architects to go on a lot in Castle Mountain in Fernie. (Image courtesy of City of Fernie)
City defers zoning decision

A zoning change would permit a development with 15 percent rental tenure residences in Castle Mountain

Rob and Jennifer King run Sasquatch Cyclery out of their garage. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
‘Hop on it now’: Parts crunch hits cycling

New bikes are hard to get and used bikes are selling at a premium this year

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kimberley's Steve Tersmette has published Waterfall Hikes In Southern British Columbia, documenting 100 of the areas waterfalls.
Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read