Boat bound for Puget Sound found with zebra mussels in Anaconda

A cabin cruiser en route to Washington state was held at a watercraft inspection station in Anaconda on Friday after staff with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks found it was infested by zebra mussels.

Dillon Tabish, communications manager with FWP, said the cabin cruiser was being transported from Ohio to Puget Sound in Washington. The inspection station found mussels in the boat’s gimbal area, the trim tabs, and several crevices.

Tabish said the boat was wrapped in shrink wrap and inspectors hot-washed the exterior to the best of their ability. The inspectors were not able to flush the motors, bilge pump or any other part of the boat.

The transporter of the boat was not the owner, and he did not have keys to the boat.

Officials in Idaho and Washington were notified, and Tabish said the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will follow up with the vessel to wash and possibly quarantine it.

The mussels, considered an invasive species, can cause millions of dollars in economic and ecological damage. Tiber Reservoir tested positive for the larvae two years ago, prompting the state to take immediate action.

Boat owners are now required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations in the state.