Aquatic Invasive Species are under the microscope this week in the province as May 9th through to the 13th is awareness week for these species in the province. 

Jeri Geiger, Team Lead for the Aquatic Invasive Species Program with the Ministry of the Environment provides some details on the species. 

"Aquatic Invasive Species are any non-native organism, so that can be a plant, invertebrate, or fish that are introduced to an area where they are not native. They have the ability to negatively impact our environment, economy, and infrastructure."

Geiger adds that when it comes to aquatic invasive species, oftentimes there are limited or no tools to effectively manage/control invasive species once established so this week is aimed at putting a focus on prevention and awareness. 

In a press release from the government it is stated that "As part of its Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program, the Ministry of Environment annually conducts roadside inspections and decontamination of watercraft, as well as monitoring waterbodies in the province. Public education is also a focus, including the Clean, Drain, Dry Program for watercraft and related equipment. Boat owners must stop at ministry inspection stations and are required to remove the drain plugs from their watercraft during transportation. In addition to stopping the introduction of AIS through watercraft and related gear, Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week also highlights the potential harm caused by the introduction of invasive species through other means. "

Geiger says this year they are hoping to inform residents regarding some lesser-known means of spreading. 

"With awareness week this year we're also trying to get folks to be aware of some of the lesser-known pathways or means of spread. Some of these include the release of live organisms from aquariums such as aquarium fish or pet or plants and water garden plants or pets."

According to Geiger, additional methods of spreading can include live food found in grocery stores such as live crab being released into an environment as well as the release of unwanted bait and the movement of sport species for new fishing opportunities. 

Sightings of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Prussian carp, flowering rush, and goldfish should be reported to the Saskatchewan Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561.

Those looking to find more information on aquatic invasive species can do so here