Manitoba has new weapons to fight invasive aquatic species

Manitoba is launching a new weapon in its fight against invasive species. Two new high-heat, high-pressure portable boat decontamination units will be travelling around the province this summer to prevent boaters from unintentionally shepherding invasive species into the province’s waterways.

According to a story by the CBC, they will be appearing at border crossings, fishing tournaments, and high-traffic boat launches among other locations.

Manitoba’s Water Stewardship Minister, Gord Mackintosh, has said that more than 90 percent of boats entering Manitoba from other states and provinces are exposed to species that are not native to Manitoba. In fact, invasive species such as zebra mussels can survive up to 15 days out of the water, and if they do, they can have devastating effects on ecosystems, threatening habitats, fisheries, and other recreation on rivers and lakes.

These decontamination units are said to be the first of their kind in Canada.

“Manitoba has the longest-running invasive species protection program in the country,” Mackintosh said. “We know prevention is our best defence and these new units will help support the provinces biodiversity, and commercial and recreational fishing opportunities.”


Invasive species
Photo by Sara Calnek/CBC

But even if you don’t have access to machines like those coming into Manitoba, there are still steps you can take when moving watercrafts, trailers, and other gear to help keep the country’s waterways safe.

This includes:

  • cleaning and removing all plants, animals, and mud;
  • draining all water from motors, live wells, bilge, ballast tanks, and bait buckets;
  • drying all gear completely;
  • disposing unwanted bait and worms in the trash

For more information on reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species, see the Government of Manitoba’s website.