Reducing the risk of spreading whirling disease
Anglers, boaters and recreational water users can help reduce the risk of spreading whirling disease.
This disease is not harmful to humans or other mammals but can have significant effects on some fish populations. It can be transmitted from infected locations to other water bodies through equipment used for swimming, paddling, boating, water pumping, and fishing or through infected fish and fish parts themselves. In order of potential risk, from highest to lowest, it is the movement of fish, mud or sediment, and water that can spread whirling disease.
Please follow these best practices:
- Never move live fish from one water body to another (this is illegal in the National Parks).
- Use fish cleaning stations where available or put fish parts in the local solid waste system. Never move dead fish or parts between water bodies or dispose of them in your kitchen garburator.
Clean off your equipment
- Before leaving any waterbody, examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, and buckets and remove all mud, sand and plant material.
Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting anywhere else
- Most recreational equipment contains places that harbour water and aquatic parasites. Ensure you remove all water from every possible item before you leave the area. This includes boats, motors, boat hulls, bilges, boots, waders, and swimming floats. Once water is eliminated, cleaning and drying are required.
Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water. This may not eliminate the spore life-stage of whirling disease, but can reduce the likelihood of transferring it to another water body.
- Use hot water (as close to 90° C as possible) to clean your equipment and let dry. If hot water is not available, spray equipment with high pressure water but not at a commercial car wash. Water used for decontamination should be not sent into storm water drains or municipal water systems.
- It is important to dry equipment thoroughly. If possible allow for a minimum of 24 hours of drying time in sunlight when possible before entering new waters.
- Wash dogs with warm water and brush them thoroughly.
Additional cleaning and decontamination procedures are appropriate for researchers and professional angling guides. Improved cleaning protocols for those working in various water bodies, or handling fish daily, include the use of very hot water and chemical disinfectants. Please contact the Aquatic Invasive Species Hotline, 1‑855‑336‑BOAT(2628) for additional information about any requirements associated with these types of activities.