Invasive species posing a serious risk to some Minnesota lakes(WDAY TV) - The Minnesota fishing season opens this weekend and there is concern in Lake Country. Invasive Species are posing a serious risk to some lakes.
Lake officials say its time to take their heads out of the sand. Aquatic Invasive Species are a serious threat and that threat is here now.
DICK HECOCK - President, Becker Co. COLA: “What we're particularly worried about right now is the Zebra Mussel threat and it has the capacity to move very quickly.”
Zebra mussels attach themselves to hard surfaces and feed on the same plankton and algae as fish, thus greatly shrinking the overall fish population.
Hecock: “We know that boats are the most important way that zebra mussels are transported from lake to lake, there's no question about that.”
Pelican Lake has been infested with Zebra Mussels for several years, and now it's forcing a change to the way Marinas do business.
KEVIN TINJUM - Co-owner, J & K Marine: “We're changing some of our processes with our rentals. We are going to have rentals that are designated just for certain lakes and we won't transport our boats between lakes.”
One Zebra Mussel can produce up to a million microscopic offspring. Thus every boat needs to be completely inspected, washed down with hot water and left to dry
Tinjum: “Obviously, in one sense we've already lost Pelican Lake to the problem. If we start losing the other lakes, you know the fishing is going to get really tough.”
In the land of 10-thousand lakes, only 53 are infected with Zebra Mussels right now, but officials say unless old habits are changed, that number will soon jump dramatically. Fishing opens midnight Friday.