Managing non-native fish in the environment

Authors

  • J R Britton,

    1. Centre for Conservation Ecology, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
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  • Rodolphe E Gozlan,

    1. Centre for Conservation Ecology, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
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  • Gordon H Copp

    1. Centre for Conservation Ecology, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
    2. Salmon and Freshwater Team, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK
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Dr. J. Robert Britton
Centre for Conservation Ecology, School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB, UK
Tel.: +44 01202965384
Fax: +44 01202965255
E-mail: rbritton@bournemouth.ac.uk

Abstract

Non-native fishes are frequently used to enhance aquaculture and fisheries; if introduced into the wider environment, then the majority will have negligible effects on native biodiversity. However, a minority will become invasive, causing adverse ecological effects, and so management actions may be needed to minimize their dispersal and impacts. These actions include eradication attempts from specific waters or well-defined spatial areas, population control by suppression (e.g. through removal programmes) and containment of existing populations to prevent their further spread. These remedial actions have generally only been undertaken across large spatial areas in developed countries; experience suggests a fundamental constraint is a lack of selective removal methods that target the non-native fish species only. For example, eradication methods tend to be limited to low technology, ‘scorched-earth’ techniques (e.g. biocide chemicals) whose use is generally constrained to relatively small and enclosed water bodies. Risk management of non-native fishes should ensure that actions taken are commensurate with the level of risk posed by that species in the environment; although pre-introduction risk assessment schemes have been developed, there remains a lack of decision support tools for post-introduction situations. Although this inhibits the management of non-native fishes in the environment, control programmes such as those against common carp Cyprinus carpio in Australia and topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva in England and Wales suggest there is potential for invasions to be managed and controlled within large spatial areas, even if their eradication may not be feasible.

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