Plants and animals that are not native to Alberta can become invasive if they are released into our waters. These species are known as aquatic invasive species and can harm our environment, economy and human health.
Aquatic invasive species legislation
Under the federal Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations, it is illegal to introduce an aquatic species into a body of water where it is not native, unless authorized under federal, provincial or territorial law.
The Fisheries (Alberta) Act regulates the purchase, possession and release of 52 prohibited species in Alberta.
Don’t let it loose
You can help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Never release aquarium pets, water garden plants, live food (example: fish, crabs, mollusks) or live bait into rivers, streams, lakes, ponds or storm sewers. Sport fish may only be released back into the waters from which they were caught (example: catch-and-release) – never move a sport fish from one body of water to another.
Releasing any organism into a body of water is illegal and has the potential to start an invasion, but you can stop it. Stop the spread of aquatic invasive species – don’t let it loose.
Aquarium and pond plants and animals
Never release aquarium or domestic pond water, plants, dead or live animals into waterbodies. Common aquarium and pond plants and animals can become invasive when released in the wild, potentially causing both ecologic and economic harm.
Common aquaculture plants can become invasive if they are not native to Alberta. Wind can spread seeds beyond your garden which creates new populations that can dominate ecosystems, therefore ruining habitat for native species.
It is illegal to release fish into waterbodies! Species that are not native to Alberta can become invasive when released in the wild, increasing competition for resources and spreading diseases to native species.
Information sheets for alerts on different species
Chinese Mystery Snail alert
Information on the Chinese mystery snail, which was found for the first time in Alberta in Lake McGregor, in 2019. The fact sheet includes a description of the snail, why it is listed as a threat, and how the snails are spread.
New Zealand Mud Snail
Information on New Zealand mud snails, where have been found in Moss (Marimo) Balls being sold in Alberta, with populations expanding in British Columbia, Montana and Ontario. This fact sheet includes a description of the snail, why it is a threat to Alberta and how the snails are spread.
Oriental Weather Loach alert
Species was discovered “for sale” at a major aquarium retailer, that has numerous locations in Alberta. Since 2015, Oriental Weather Loach has been listed under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act as a prohibited species. It is illegal to possess, release, sell or transport this species within the province.
Yellow Floating Heart alert
Species was recently detected for the first time in Alberta. Since 2015, Yellow Floating Heart has been listed under the Fisheries (Act) Alberta as a prohibited species. It is illegal to possess, release, sell or transport this species within the province.
Zebra mussels alert
Species was recently found in moss (marimo) balls imported into Canada and the United States and commonly sold at pet or garden retailers. Zebra and quagga mussels are listed under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act as a prohibited species. It is illegal to possess, release, sell or transport these species within the province.
Quick Facts: Don't Let It Loose
Never release aquarium or domestic pond water, plants, dead or live animals into waterbodies. Common aquarium and pond plants and animals can become invasive when released in the wild, altering habitat, increasing competition for limited resources and spreading disease to native species.
Quick Facts: Eurasian Water Milfoil
Eurasian water milfoil is an invasive plant species that is native to Eurasia and North Africa. It can form thick, dense mats that decrease oxygen levels, shade native plants and obstruct recreational activities, negatively impacting human activities and native fish and wildlife. Control of Eurasian water milfoil is very difficult once it's established – always clean, drain, dry your gear to prevent the spread!
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