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Marine Science



Canada moves to stem invasive mussel threat. The Canadian Government is urging people to help prevent the spread of invasive Zebra Mussels.

As one of the six prohibited species under Canada’s federal Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations, Zebra Mussels are one of the biggest aquatic invasive threats in Canada.

Once established, these invasive mussels multiply quickly and can harm Canada’s aquatic ecosystems by altering food webs, damaging habitats, and out-competing native species for food. They also have the potential to cause substantial, costly damage by clogging intake structures in power stations and water treatment plants as well as damaging watercrafts.

In Canada, invasive Zebra Mussels have recently been found in moss ball products, a type of aquarium plant product made of green algae. At this time, there have been confirmed reports of infected moss balls in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is monitoring the situation in close collaboration with federal and provincial counterparts, and updates are being shared through the department’s social media channels on an ongoing basis.

The Canadian Government is encouraging anyone who may have recently purchased moss ball products in Canada to dispose of them responsibly by doing the following:

  1.    Destroy
  • Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours, or
  • Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least one full minute.
  1. Dispose
  • Place the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag and dispose in the trash.
  1. Report

Note: Please do not flush moss balls down the toilet or dispose of them in the compost. If the moss balls have already been placed in an aquarium, all accessories in the tank (e.g. rocks, decorations, etc.) should be washed with a strong solution of chlorine bleach and water. It is illegal to introduce any aquatic organism into any region or Canadian waterbody where it is not indigenous unless authorised by federal or provincial law.

Zebra mussels pose a serious threat to Canada’s aquatic ecosystems, but you can help stop the spread. For more information on Zebra Mussels in Canada, please visit: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/profiles-profils/zebramussel-moulezebree-eng.html