A recent survey found populations of invasive Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) living in Shuswap Lake. The surveys, led by the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society, follow the discovery of dead Asian clam shells last year on the shores of Shuswap Lake. Asian clams have also been found in freshwater lakes in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.
Asian clams are harmful to our lakes in a number of ways: they threaten native biodiversity, damage power plants and water treatments systems and reduce drinking water quality.
It is likely that live Asian clams were introduced by people into BC lakes. This type of clam has been used as fishing bait, as a food item (for humans) and kept as aquarium pets. Aquatic invasive species can be unknowingly transported in boats and gear and can survive long distances over land, making it easy to accidentally introduce the invader to a new lake or river.
Image: Asian clams and native clam species, Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society
It is very difficult to remove Asian clams from infested open waters as they spread rapidly, so prevention is the best approach. Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to use live bait in BC. Aquarium owners are reminded: Don’t Let it Loose! Live animals or plants should never be released into the wild or dumped into lakes, rivers and streams. We can all help to prevent the spread of invasive species through our watercraft and gear by practicing Clean, Drain, Dry. Follow these three easy steps:
- Clean plants, animals and mud from your boat and gear
- Drain all water from your boat and gear onto land
- Dry all parts of your boat and gear completely
To learn more about provincial regulations and programs concerning invasive species, or to commit to the Clean Drain Dry program, visit CleanDrainDry.ca. Visit the Province’s Asian Clam Invasive Species Alert for more information about Asian clams.
About the Clean Drain Dry program in BC:
The Canadian Council on Invasive Species is pleased to work in partnership with the Invasive Species Council of BC and with funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada in launching the Clean Drain Dry program in BC, as the foundation for a national program. The project aims to encourage boaters and aquatic recreationists, who play a critical role in protecting local watersheds from invasive species, to Clean, Drain, and Dry all boats and equipment. Over a three-year pilot term, resources, signage and a social and digital media campaign will be designed to shift the behaviour of boaters and aquatic recreationists to encourage the practice of Clean, Drain and Dry.
About the Invasive Species Council of BC:
ISCBC is dedicated to keeping our landscapes and communities free of invasive species. It provides a coordinated, province-wide approach to reducing the impact of invasive species in BC. ISCBC unites efforts across the province and collaborates with a variety of partners to develop unique solutions for the wide variety of ecosystems across BC.
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