Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels

Clean, dry and drain your watercraft to stop the spread of invasive mussels

Pull the plug! It’s the law!

Effective May 17 2024 in B.C. it is now illegal to transport your watercraft with the drain plug still in place.

  • Before transporting a boat or other watercraft, owners/operators must remove the drain plug and drain all water on dry land including all internal compartments such as ballasts, bilges, and live wells.

Why is this important? While British Columbia (B.C.) currently remains free of invasive zebra and quagga mussels, Whirling Disease has now been detected in Yoho National Park in B.C.

  • To help stop the spread of whirling disease and invasive mussels before moving a boat or any equipment between water bodies, be sure to Clean, Drain, Dry


Services and information topics

Invasive Mussel Defence Program

The B.C. Invasive Mussel Defence program’s goal is to prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels into B.C. The program’s prevention efforts are focused on inspecting boats, monitoring lakes, educating the public and coordinating actions with neighbouring jurisdictions. 

Information on the disposal of moss balls

Zebra mussels have been found in many kinds of moss ball products, which are used for aquaria or water gardens. Some moss balls that contained zebra mussels were found in B.C. These moss balls, which are often sold as “Marimo Moss Balls”, are species of green algae typically used to improve water quality in aquaria. Moss balls can also be purchased online.

Bringing your boat to B.C.

If you’re bringing your boat from out-of-province, contact the Provincial Program at to determine if your boat is HIGH-RISK and should be decontaminated for possible zebra or quagga mussels before launching it in B.C. waters. It’s free!

Contact the Provincial Program 

B.C. watercraft inspection stations

If you are transporting a watercraft in B.C. it is a mandatory to stop and report to all invasive mussel watercraft inspection stations along your travel route. Watercraft includes sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards being transported in B.C. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has a team of specialized inspectors checking and if necessary decontaminating watercraft being transported into B.C.

What can you do?

All watercraft launching into B.C. waters are encouraged to follow the clean, drain, dry approach to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in B.C., including zebra and quagga mussels. Inspect, clean, drain and dry all gear and boats following use. When leaving a waterbody, remove any visible plants and animals from your gear and boat.

Early detection lake monitoring

Monitoring is critical for early detection of new invasive species incursions in B.C. and is an important first step in the Provincial Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) plan.

Zebra and quagga mussel facts

Quagga mussels and zebra mussels are not native to North America and pose a serious threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities.