Stop the Spread

How You Can Stop Spreading Whirling Disease in Alberta

Everyone, including anglers, boaters and recreational water users can help stop the spread of 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
  • through infected fish and fish parts

The movement of fish, mud and water can potentially spread whirling disease.

Best Practices for Stopping the Spread

Please follow these best practices:

  • Never move live or dead fish, or fish parts from one water body to another (this is illegal in Alberta).
  • Use fish cleaning stations where available or put fish parts in the garbage. Never dispose of fish, or any fish parts, in your kitchen garburator.
  • It is illegal to use live fish as bait. The use of worms or leeches as bait should be avoided as well.

Before moving a boat or any equipment (ie hip waders, life jackets, kayaks, etc.) between water bodies, be sure to:


  • Clean and inspect watercraft, trailers, and all equipment that has been in contact with water. This includes boats, motors, boots, waders, bait buckets, and swimming floats.
  • Remove all mud, sand, and plant materials before leaving the shore.
  • Rinse, scrub, or pressure wash your boat and equipment away from storm drains, ditches or waterways. Use hot water if possible (90°C or hotter).


  • Before leaving the shoreline, drain water from watercraft and equipment onto dry land.
  • Remember to "Pull the Plug" because it is illegal to transport watercraft with the drain plug still in place.


  • Dry the watercraft and/or equipment completely between trips and allow the wet areas to air dry. Allow for a minimum of 24 hours of drying time before entering new waters.
  • Leave compartments open on boats and equipment, and sponge out standing water.

NOTE: These practices should be completed before leaving any waterbody, not just in the infected area in Alberta.

Attention Aquatic Researchers and Professional Angling Guides

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.

Find information on reducing the spread of whirling disease related to fisheries operations and equipment:

You can also contact the Aquatic Invasive Species Hotline at:

  • Tel: 1 855 336-BOAT(2628)


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Posted: Feb 10, 2017