MPs demand action on mussels

  • Sep. 6, 2017 1:00 p.m.

The federal government is being told to take invasive mussels seriously.

Conservative MPs Mel Arnold and Dan Albas have sent a letter about quagga and zebra mussels to Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

“We are calling on the government to recognize the ecological and economic threats that aquatic invasive species pose to B.C. waters, especially the Okanagan and Shuswap,” said Arnold, who represents North Okanagan-Shuswap.

“The increasing risk of an infestation, and the potential costs associated with it, warrant immediate federal action.”

In 2016, mandatory vessel inspection stations were put in place through a partnership between the provincial government, the Canada Border Services Agency and B.C. Hydro.

While this program prevented 15 contaminated vessels from entering the province this summer, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment recently acknowledged that nearly one in five drivers fail to stop for an inspection.

“In addition to the potentially significant damage to infrastructure in the province, aquatic invasive species also pose serious environmental risks,” said Albas, MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

“Here in B.C., the federal government is responsible for the management of salmon stocks and action is desperately needed to protect this important resource for our local communities, including First Nations.”

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