Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development is reminding boaters, anglers and other water users to remain vigilant as the open-water season ends, and to make sure they properly inspect and remove aquatic invasive species (AIS) before they transport their watercraft and water-related equipment.
The province is actively working to stop the further spread of highly invasive species such as zebra mussels, but visible adult zebra mussels continue to be found on watercraft reporting to provincial watercraft inspection stations across Manitoba. Itis illegal to possess and transport AIS in Manitoba and water users must inspect and remove AIS from items such as powerboats, canoes, fishing gear, anchors and hunting decoys before leaving the shore of a water body.
If AIS cannot be removed from watercraft or water-related equipment before leaving the shore, a transportation authorization is available from the Manitoba government. This also applies to contaminated items such as docks and buoys that have been kept in an invaded water body. A permit is also required to legally remove zebra mussels from beaches and shorelines.
The spread of AIS is preventable and the department reminds water users to follow the AIS legal requirements: clean, drain, dry and pull the boat plug whenever leaving a water body in Manitoba. Watercraft and water-related equipment must also be decontaminated before placing the items into another water body if they were last used in:
- an AIS control zone;
- an invaded water body such as Lake Manitoba or Assean Lake; or
- a tributary to the first impassible barrier or connected water body of a control zone or an invaded water body.
These requirements are in effect year-round. Failure to do so can result in fines. Examples of set fines for AIS offences include $1,296 for possessing or transporting AIS and $2,542 for failing to decontaminate prior to entering another water body.
Provincial watercraft inspection stations are able to assist water users and are operating until late October. Available resources include open-water and winter (ice-covered) season checklists to help users comply with the Manitoba government’s AIS requirements. New AIS sightings in Manitoba in an area where they are not already known to exist must be reported immediately at www.manitoba.ca/stopais/ais_reporting.html. For more information about AIS, permits and authorizations, or the locations and operating times of the watercraft inspection program, visit www.Manitoba.ca/StopAIS.
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For more information:
- Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
- Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
- Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-290-5374.