Zebra mussels, an invasive species that is almost impossible to dislodge, were found for the first time in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, more specifically in Lake Témiscouata.
Posted yesterday at 9:50 p.m.
The observation was made by the Saint John River watershed organization (OBVFSTJ), following a citizen mention, the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) said on Monday.
Staff have also been dispatched to the field to assess the situation. An action plan will be implemented with regional stakeholders to “prevent the dispersal and introduction of the species to other lakes in the region that have favorable conditions for the proliferation of zebra mussels”, possibly we read in a press release.
Sometimes introduced during the transfer of boats from a contaminated body of water, zebra mussels are generally associated with the degradation of the aquatic habitats they colonize.
They are responsible, among other things, for material damage to boats and the infrastructure they colonize, such as quays, dams and municipal drinking water intakes, also explains the MFFP.
No bigger than a fingernail and native to Eurasia, the invasive species can, in a few years, change an underwater landscape. First, by its impressive number: up to 30,000 specimens per square meter.
“Once the zebra mussel is established in an environment, it is virtually impossible to dislodge it. In addition, preventive measures must be put in place to prevent the spread of this species to other bodies of water,” adds the ministry.
Covering an area of 66 km², extending over a length of 40 km, Lake Témiscouata is the largest body of water in the Appalachian landscape of the Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Last May, La Presse reported the attempt by a group of actors led by the Bleu Massawipi organization to dislodge zebra mussels from the lake of the same name, in Estrie, a first in Quebec. However, the operation is carried out at great expense: $500,000 in 2022 alone.