A modular assessment tool for managing introduced fishes according to risks of species and their populations, and impacts of management actions

This source preferred by Robert Britton

Authors: Britton, J.R., Copp, G.H., Brazier, M. and Davies, G.D.

Journal: Biological Invasions

Volume: 13

Pages: 2847-2860

ISSN: 1387-3547

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-9967-0

A modular assessment scheme for assisting the risk management of introduced fishes is described, with its recent application to England and Wales demonstrated. The initial module prioritises the introduced fishes in the risk assessment area according to their potential invasiveness and current distribution. The second module then assesses populations of the prioritised species in relation to the character of their receiving waters and the potential risks posed by their population in that circumstance; the output is a suggested management action for each population. The third module evaluates the suggested management action in relation to its potential impacts in the environment and how these impacts may be mitigated. The final module assesses the estimated cumulative cost of the selected management action relative to an alternative action. To demonstrate its potential value for managing extant populations of introduced fish, three eradication case-studies from England were assessed retrospectively using the scheme. This revealed eradication of two topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva populations was commensurate with their levels of ecological risk in the environment. By contrast, initial assessment of the eradication of a feral population of fathead minnow Pimephales promelas suggested control and containment was the commensurate management action due to a relatively low risk of natural dispersal. Application of the scheme elsewhere in the world and to other faunal groups should enable more objective decision-making in management programmes and enhance conservation outcomes.

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