BC is issuing a new order to boaters to combat the spread of whirling diseases

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British Columbia’s chief veterinarian has issued an order making it illegal to transport boats or other watercraft without removing the drain plug to prevent the spread of spinal disease.

The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship says the order comes into effect Friday and is also aimed at keeping invasive mussels out of B.C.’s waterways.

Boat operators are required to clean, drain and dry all watercraft and remove all mud, sand and vegetation before leaving shore.

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Whirlpool disease could impact the fish population in Western Canada


Ships will also have to dry for at least 24 hours before entering new water.

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Whirlpool disease causes deformities in fish and has a high mortality rate, but does not pose a health risk to people who swim in or drink water that contains the parasite responsible for the condition.

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The ministry says inspectors will check vessels for compliance with the new orders.

B.C.’s first case of spinal disease was confirmed in Yoho National Park in December 2023, and all water bodies in the park are closed until March next year.

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There is no treatment to eradicate the disease.

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