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Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week Aims to Protect Saskatchewan Waters

Released on May 7, 2015

Saskatchewan is changing regulations to help prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) from entering the province, and is proclaiming May 10 to 16 Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week to raise the profile of this important issue.

“Saskatchewan’s lakes and waterways have significant environmental, economic and recreational importance and aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels pose a serious threat,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said.  “Proclaiming Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week in Saskatchewan will help inform and educate the public on this critical issue.  By enhancing regulations we also strengthen the province’s ability to inspect and disinfect high-risk 
watercraft entering the province, helping to protect our fish populations and aquatic habitats.”

Boat inspections and other prevention efforts – including the use of mobile decontamination units in cases where invasive mussels are discovered on watercraft – will focus on the southeast region of the province.  Given that invasive mussels have been discovered in Lake Winnipeg, the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border will be a priority for the province, along with high-risk water bodies that host organized events, such as fishing tournaments and wakeboard competitions.
Invasive mussels and other AIS can be impossible to eliminate if they become established in a water body, and have the potential to severely impact aquatic habitats, fisheries, valuable recreational resources and water-related infrastructure.  Mussels can clog water intake structures and increase costs significantly for irrigation, power generation and municipal water supply.

The Ministry of Environment supports several other initiatives that raise awareness about AIS and the importance of prevention through the CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY Your Boat awareness program.

“We applaud the Saskatchewan government on being proactive on this very serious threat to our fisheries resources and infrastructure,” Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Executive Director Darrell Crabbe said.  “Every precaution, and active vigilance by all anglers and boaters, is necessary to safeguard our waterways from AIS.”

The updated fisheries regulations also add Asian carp to a list of invasive species that already included zebra and quagga mussels.

More information about fishing and aquatic invasive species can be found in the Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide and online at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/fishing or www.environment.gov.sk.ca/invasivespecies.

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For more information, contact:

Jamie Gibson
Environment
Regina
Phone: 306-798-3900
Email: jamie.gibson@gov.sk.ca

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