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Proceedings 2011/068

Proceedings of the Meeting on Screening-Level Risk Assessment Prioritization Protocol for Aquatic Non Indigenous Species; November 22-24, 2011

Chairperson: T. Therriault
Editor: S. Walker


Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program was tasked by both the Office of the Auditor General and an internal evaluation to establish a protocol to provide a scientifically defensible and relatively quick way of screening and prioritizing aquatic non-indigenous species (NIS). The national ranking of aquatic NIS, based on the biological risk they pose to Canadian aquatic ecosystems, is necessary to better prioritise national and regional NIS program activities and resource allocation.

The Department also requested science advice to support the development of a national regulatory proposal for addressing aquatic NIS. Specifically, they had requested to include in the regulatory proposal: 1) a protocol to prioritise aquatic NIS; and, 2) a list of high risk aquatic NIS including those NIS already present in some regions of Canada whose transport into other areas in Canada where not present should be limited. This protocol will allow the ranking of aquatic NIS for national priorities and will be used as a biological screening tool for aquatic NIS to determine (in a short time frame) if a more detailed-level risk assessment or a risk management evaluation is required based on existing information.

A national Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) science peer review process was held in Montreal, November 22-24, 2011, during which participants examined a review of 82 screening tools for NIS risk assessment and proposed a framework for a screening-level risk assessment and prioritization protocol for aquatic NIS. This proposed framework was based on the best tool evaluated to meet both screening and prioritization needs. The publications resulting from this process include: (i) these proceedings; and, (ii) a research document entitled “Developing a Screening-Level Risk Assessment Prioritization Protocol for Aquatic Non-Indigenous Species in Canada. Review of Existing Protocols: Review of Existing Protocols”. A draft protocol was developed by the participants during the meeting, but will require substantial testing and peer review prior to being considered for publication.

A subsequent meeting, which is considered Part 2 of this process, will be required to review the results of the pilot testing of the draft screening-level risk assessment protocols for aquatic NIS. As well, a list will be identified of potential high risk NIS for potential inclusion in proposed regulations. 

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