A widespread effort to stop the spread of an invasive species in BC has resulted in the seizure or surrender of nearly 3,000 suspected or confirmed zebra mussel infested moss balls.

Invasive zebra mussels have been found in aquarium and water-garden moss balls sold in pet stores and garden centres across BC and Canada.

Often called “Marimo moss balls,” nearly 3,000 of these ornamental moss balls suspected or confirmed to be contaminated with zebra mussels have been seized or surrendered to conservation officers.

To date, there has been no reported introduction of live zebra mussels into BC lakes or waterways.

Zebra mussels are a highly invasive species that pose a serious threat to Canada’s aquatic ecosystems, fish populations, hydropower stations, and other infrastructure since they multiply rapidly and are extremely difficult to eradicate once they become established in an area.

Suspected or lab-confirmed contaminated moss balls have been found in Terrace, Invermere, Kamloops, the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. Most of the moss balls seized were found on the Lower Mainland.

Several people have reported finding what they believed were zebra mussels in their home aquariums.

Investigations have linked some potentially contaminated moss balls to international shipments.

Many retailers and distributors are cooperating by voluntarily pulling the moss balls from their shelves. The continued cooperation from the industry is commended.

The BC Conservation Officer Service continues to work with the ministry’s science experts and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as other federal, provincial and territorial partners to address the situation.

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