Loa fish hatchery quarantined after New Zealand mud snails are found

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 11:46 a.m. MDT

LOA, Wayne County — The presence of New Zealand mud snails has the Loa State Fish Hatchery under temporary quarantine, the Division of Wildlife Resources has announced.

The quarantine comes after aquatic invasive species biologists with the DWR found the tiny snails at the hatchery during a routine inspection in August.

This is the second time mud snails have been found in the Loa hatchery. The first time was in 2007. The hatchery will stay under quarantine until the mud snails are removed.

Terry Howick, fish culture supervisor for the DWR, said it will take about four to five months to disinfect the hatchery.

All of the New Zealand mud snails that are found in Utah are female and reproduce asexually. Because they're asexual, only one snail is required to establish a new colony. One snail can produce hundreds of young every year. And the snails are very effective at colonizing new waters.

New Zealand mud snails arrived in North America from New Zealand in 1987 when they were discovered in Idaho.

To avoid bringing invasive species into Utah waters, boaters and anglers should disinfect equipment, scrub it with a brush and rinse it with water from the stream to remove the mud snails. Remove the laces from boots to clean under them. After scrubbing the boots, repeatedly spray the wading boots and equipment with Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, keeping it damp with the 409 disinfectant for 10 minutes.

Equipment should then dry in the sun for an hour before re-using it. This process will kill any snails that can't be seen.

If fishing on a river or stream, disinfect waders and gear before moving to a different stretch of the same river to fish.

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