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Let’s keep ’em out of Alberta

Currently, Alberta is zebra and quagga mussel free, but these tiny invaders can easily spread through boats and other watercraft travelling across borders. If established in Alberta, aquatic invasive species can spread rapidly, clog waterways and infrastructure, harm ecosystems and cause hundreds of millions in damages.

Alberta’s government is stepping up. Starting June 20, fines will increase from $324 to $4,200 for failing to stop with a trailered boat at an open inspection station, and fines will rise from $180 to $600 for failing to remove a bilge plug when transporting a watercraft on a roadway. This will help make sure that boats are properly drained, inspected and invasive-species-free before entering Alberta.

"Zebra mussels and other invasive species can devastate Alberta’s rivers, lakes and waterways. We are setting the highest fines in North America because we want everyone to take inspection and detection seriously. Alberta is currently zebra and quagga mussel free so let’s keep ’em out."

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas
Reports of aquatic invasive species are increasing across Canada and the United States. The province must use every tool possible to prevent damage from aquatic invasive species, which could cost millions annually to lakes, waterways and irrigation infrastructure. A recent study estimated that introducing invasive mussels into Lake McGregor alone could cost $284 million a year in damages. Lake McGregor is part of a larger interconnected system that includes reservoirs and irrigation infrastructure in southern Alberta.

“Watercraft inspections are mandatory in Alberta, and these fines will help make sure that boaters follow the rules. The best way to prevent invasive species from getting established is for all people coming into the province to do their part by making sure their drain plug is removed and stopping at inspection stations.”

Grant Hunter, chair of the Invasive Species Task Force and MLA for Taber-Warner
 
“Every year, boat inspection stations identify several boats entering Alberta contaminated with invasive mussels. Increasing fines for failing to stop with a trailered boat at an inspection station will help ensure that all boats coming into Alberta are inspected and mussel-free. Prevention is the most effective way to prevent mussels from establishing and destructively impacting Alberta’s waterbodies.”

Megan Evans, executive director, Alberta Invasive Species Council
Higher fines are part of Alberta’s increased border defense. The government has also launched a new Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force and invested $2.5 million to increase the number of inspection stations, add more inspectors, and keep stations open as long as possible.

Alberta continues to call for stronger federal actions to stop invasive species at the Canada-United States border.

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