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Research Document - 2008/073

Biological Risk Assessment for Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) in British Columbia

By M.J. Bradford, C.P. Tovey
and L-M. Herborg


We performed a qualitative risk assessment of the ecological and genetic impacts of the non-native yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and their parasites, pathogens and fellow travelers to native ecosystems in British Columbia. The yellow perch is widely distributed in North America, and has been introduced into southern British Columbia and also in the northeastern part of the province. In BC it has been spread mainly by illegal introduction. The yellow perch is an adaptable and prolific species; when introduced into small lakes, yellow perch can have severe impacts on native fish species, largely as a result of competition for food. Its impact in larger lakes is less severe, though less information is available. For most regions of BC the probability of becoming widely established once arrived was considered high or very high. The magnitude of the ecological impact in small water bodies was considered very high, and moderate in large lakes and rivers. Because there are no members of the Perch family native to BC, the potential genetic impact of introduced yellow perch to native biota is likely low. There were few published papers to inform our assessment of the potential impact of parasites, pathogens, and fellow travelers to native ecosystems in BC, however the risks were considered low.

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