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Sniffer dogs lend a nose to mandatory boat inspections

Alberta’s fight against zebra and quagga mussels will have a few more paws on the ground thanks to the addition of a full-time crew of canine inspectors.  

Sniffer dogs bust invasive mussels crossing the border

As Alberta introduces mandatory boat inspections, inspectors will be happy to have the help of sniffer dogs to speed up the inspection process.

“Aquatic Invasive Species are one the largest threats facing Alberta’s waterways and biodiversity. The inclusion of mandatory boat inspections and sniffer dogs to our Aquatic Invasive Species program are essential tools in our arsenal against a zebra and quagga mussel infestation.”

Kyle Fawcett, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Once Bill 13, the Fisheries (Alberta) Amendment Act, is proclaimed into law, watercraft inspections will become mandatory and inspection stations will be located at commercial vehicle weigh stations throughout the province, as well as main points of entry.

Following a successful pilot last summer, Working Dogs for Conservation will provide Wicket, Lily and Orbee to carry out inspections, while Alberta works to train its own permanent team of canines. The dogs will be focusing on Albertans returning home from the mussel-infested southern United States.

“We must all work together to ensure we protect our vital water environment and our economy in southern Alberta. Our partnership with the Government to fund these dogs and their handlers, together with mandatory boat inspections, will protect the more than 4,000 kilometres of irrigation pipelines in southern Alberta.”

Ron McMullin, Executive Director, Alberta Irrigation Projects Association

Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days. Once introduced to a waterbody, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. The province estimates that an infestation of invasive mussels in Alberta could cost the province more than $75 million annually – including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities. 

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


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