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Detection dog stops boat carrying invasive mussels from entering BC

The BC Conservation Officer Service (BC COS) says they recently stopped a boat infested with invasive mussels from entering BC waterways.

The boat, which was from Ontario, stopped at an inspection station in Golden when a specifically trained dog detected the presence of the invasive species.

Kilo, one of just two conservation officer service dogs trained to detect the mussels, found the small clusters of tiny mussels.

<who> Photo Credit: BC COS

Thanks to Kilo’s special skills, the BC COS issued a 30-day quarantine period to the boat owner.

The owner was also issued a $230 violation ticket for the possession and unlawful transport of a prohibited species in BC, according to the BC COS.

According to the province, quagga and zebra mussels were first introduced to Canada and the US in the 1980s and quickly spread throughout Ontario, Quebec and 24 US states.

The small mussels are able to reproduce and multiply rapidly. They are a major threat to aquatic ecosystems, carrying the potential to completely eradicate food webs and impacting other species, like salmon populations.

“This incident highlights the effectiveness of how mandatory watercraft inspection stations, and co-operation and collaboration with program partners, are helping to prevent invasive mussels from entering BC waterways,” the BC COS says.



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