By Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A commercial fisherman who has been fishing on Lake Manitoba for decades says he and other local fishers are now on edge and wondering how the lake and their livelihoods will be affected, after invasive zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Manitoba earlier this week.

“All of the fishers I have spoken to who fish on this lake are very concerned about what impact this is going to have on the lake and on the fishery,” Lake Manitoba Commercial Fishermen Association president Allan Gaudry said.

In a Tuesday press release, the province confirmed that juvenile zebra mussel, which are an aquatic invasive species in Manitoba, were detected in nine water samples collected from Lake Manitoba Narrows, through monitoring conducted by the province in July.

“This indicates there could be a reproducing population of zebra mussels in Lake Manitoba,” the province said on Tuesday.

Zebra Mussels were first discovered in Manitoba when they were found in Lake Winnipeg back in the fall of 2013.

Gaudry has been fishing on Lake Manitoba for more than 30 years, and in his role as association president he said he represents more than 450 commercial fishermen.

He said he now believes since that discovery in Lake Winnipeg that both the province and Manitoba boaters could have been doing more to prevent the spread of zebra mussels into other lakes.

“You really needed the province to do more monitoring and cleaning around boat launches, and boaters really need to be responsible for cleaning and draining their boats when they leave a body of water,” Gaudry said.

This item is reprinted with permission from the Winnipeg, MB, Winnipeg Sun. For the complete article, click HERE

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