Science Advisory Report 2014/009
Science Advice for Screening-Level Risk Assessment Protocols for Nonindigenous Freshwater Organisms in Trade in Canada
- Biological risk assessment protocols provide science advice to identify high risk aquatic invasive species. Screening-level risk assessments provide relatively fast advice, based on the best available information, and can be used to evaluate organisms that are currently in trade to determine level of risk.
- Existing screening-level risk assessment protocols were evaluated and used to screen freshwater nonindigenous species in trade in Canada.
- Five tools were evaluated for freshwater fishes and three tools were chosen for application to fish in trade in Canada based on performance and potential for low user bias (Montreal Risk Assessment Tool, Great Lakes Nonindigenous Species Information System, and the Notre Dame Statistical Risk Assessment Tool). Following family-and species-level climate match analysis, 12 species in 6 families (Appendix 1) were identified for screening using these three selected tools.
- For freshwater plants, the US Aquatic Weed Risk Assessment (USAqWRA) tool, which is a previously published peer-reviewed screening-level risk assessment tool developed by Gordon et al. (2012) was deemed suitable for application to freshwater plants in trade in Canada. A total of 20 freshwater plant species in trade in Canada were screened using this tool and identified as high or low risk, depending on the risk threshold selected (Appendix 2).
- For freshwater molluscs, Keller et al. (2007) statistical screening-level risk assessment tool, which predicts invasiveness based on fecundity level, was deemed suitable for mollusc species in trade in Canada. A list of 15 mollusc species not known to be established in Canada, screened in as nuisance species is provided in Appendix 3.
- Climatch, which is a climate-matching tool for fishes, and USDA Global Plant Hardiness Zones for molluscs and plants were found to be suitable to assess the climate match of species to survive under Canadian environmental conditions.
- The key sources of uncertainty identified are the potential for user bias for questionnaire-type tools (which could be reduced through the development of further guidance) and the use of climate matching for plants and molluscs as a surrogate for habitat matching.
- The level of impact that would justify a regulatory response is a management decision. Before the tools presented here are applied to Canadian ecosystems, managers need to define what constitutes a species that poses unacceptable risks.
This Science Advisory Report is from the March 19-21, 2013 meeting Screening-level risk assessment prioritization protocol for aquatic non-indigenous species (Part 2). Additional publications from this process will be posted the on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
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