Gateway Gazette

Proposed Legislation Would Protect Alberta’s Waterways

 

Border patrol inspects a boat for mussel infestation
Border patrol inspects a boat for mussel infestation

Alberta has introduced legislation that would make boat and watercraft inspections mandatory on major highways coming into the province.

If passed, the proposed amendments to the Alberta Fisheries Act will help protect Alberta from the looming threat of a zebra and quagga mussel infestation.

“Alberta faces a serious threat from zebra and quagga mussels. The proposed changes to the Fisheries Act will allow our province to mount a stringent defense against these environmentally and economically destructive aquatic invasive species.”

~Kyle Fawcett, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

In addition to mandatory boat inspections, a prohibited species list, including aquatic invasive fish, invertebrates and plants of concern, will be added to the Act.

Under the proposed amendments, law enforcement officers would also be given greater authority when dealing with contaminated watercraft, and greater clarity regarding their role in ensuring compliance with the law and providing education about it.

If the proposed amendments are passed, they would be in effect in time for the 2015 boating season.

Alberta developed a province wide aquatic invasive species program in 2014, including prevention activities such as watercraft inspections and the “Clean Drain Dry” education campaign. In 2014, four boats were found with live mussels. Only about 50 per cent of province-bound watercraft stopped at the voluntary inspection stations.

For Aquatic Invasive Species inquires and reports please call 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT).

Source: AESRD

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