Conservation officers use dogs trained to detect invasive zebra mussels on boats, and the skill comes in handy to check decorative aquarium moss balls that may be contaminated. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service)

Conservation officers use dogs trained to detect invasive zebra mussels on boats, and the skill comes in handy to check decorative aquarium moss balls that may be contaminated. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service)

B.C. collects thousands of contaminated aquarium moss balls

Boat checks next in battle to stop invasive zebra mussels

A public warning about aquarium moss balls has led to the collection of nearly 3,000 “confirmed or suspected” to be contaminated with invasive zebra mussels.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service first warned in early March of the contaminated items, sold as “Marimo moss balls” for house plants or aquarium plants. Lab-confirmed or suspected contaminated moss balls have since been found mostly in the Lower Mainland, as well as Invermere, Terrace, Kamloops and on Vancouver Island.

Conservation officers contacted more than 1,100 pet stores, garden centres and other retailers, and the suspected items were either surrendered or seized. It’s the latest effort to stop the invasive species from entering lakes and rivers, where they can affect fish populations as well as hydro power stations and other infrastructure. There have been no reports of live zebra mussels being introduced into B.C. waterways as a result.

“Several people have reported finding what they believed were zebra mussels in their home aquariums,” the service said in a statement April 1. “Investigations have linked some potentially contaminated moss balls to international shipments.”

The annual battle against zebra mussels moves to its usual target next, with inspection of out-of-province boats that may be bringing them into B.C. on their hulls and bilges. Checkpoints are set up each summer at popular boat launches to inspect and clean boats that may be contaminated.

RELATED: Aquarium users warned after mussels found at pet store

RELATED: 10 zebra mussel-fouled boats found in B.C. in 2020


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureEnvironment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Last year’s flood season stretched from April through early July, as this picture of flooding at Cache Creek park on July 4, 2020 shows. With area snowpacks at slightly above normal, temperatures and rainfall will play a role in determining what this year’s flood season looks like. (Photo credit: Tom Moe)
Snowpacks in area slightly higher than normal as freshet starts

Temperatures and rainfall are critical flood risk factors in coming weeks

The Clinton Annual Ball went ahead in 2020, albeit in a different format and with far fewer guests than usual. (Photo credit: Clinton Annual Ball committee)
Clinton Annual Ball postponed again in 2021, but still carries on

Thanks to some creativity, ball is still the longest continually-held event of its kind in Canada

The 2020 financial statements for Cache Creek show that the village needs to look at either increasing revenues or cutting services in order to maintain a balanced budget. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Cache Creek council advised to increase revenues or cut services

Presentation also shows that continued use of Landfill Legacy Fund for operations is unsustainable

A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
Major grant will help refurbish historic Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum

The 1926 bridge, which last saw vehicle traffic in 1964, is major attraction on Fraser Canyon drive

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read