Revisions of the Fish Invasiveness Screening Kit (FISK) for its Application in Warmer Climatic Zones, with Particular Reference to Peninsular Florida

Authors

  • Larry L. Lawson Jr.,

    Corresponding author
    • Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Ruskin, FL, USA
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  • Jeffrey E. Hill,

    1. Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Ruskin, FL, USA
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  • Lorenzo Vilizzi,

    1. Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Wodonga, Vic, Australia
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  • Scott Hardin,

    1. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, FL, USA
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  • Gordon H. Copp

    1. Salmon & Freshwater Team, Cefas, Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
    2. School of Conservation Science, Bournemouth University, Poole, Dorset, UK
    3. Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
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  • [Correction added after online publication on October 4, 2012: In the title, “Scoring” was changed to “Screening”.]

Address correspondence to Larry L. Lawson Jr., Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, University of Florida, 1408 24th St. SE, Ruskin, FL 33570, USA; LLLawson187@ufl.edu.

Abstract

The initial version (v1) of the Fish Invasiveness Scoring Kit (FISK) was adapted from the Weed Risk Assessment of Pheloung, Williams, and Halloy to assess the potential invasiveness of nonnative freshwater fishes in the United Kingdom. Published applications of FISK v1 have been primarily in temperate-zone countries (Belgium, Belarus, and Japan), so the specificity of this screening tool to that climatic zone was not noted until attempts were made to apply it in peninsular Florida. To remedy this shortcoming, the questions and guidance notes of FISK v1 were reviewed and revised to improve clarity and extend its applicability to broader climatic regions, resulting in changes to 36 of the 49 questions. In addition, upgrades were made to the software architecture of FISK to improve overall computational speed as well as graphical user interface flexibility and friendliness. We demonstrate the process of screening a fish species using FISK v2 in a realistic management scenario by assessing the Barcoo grunter Scortum barcoo (Terapontidae), a species whose management concerns are related to its potential use for aquaponics in Florida. The FISK v2 screening of Barcoo grunter placed the species into the lower range of medium risk (score = 5), suggesting it is a permissible species for use in Florida under current nonnative species regulations. Screening of the Barcoo grunter illustrates the usefulness of FISK v2 as a proactive tool serving to inform risk management decisions, but the low level of confidence associated with the assessment highlighted a dearth of critical information on this species.

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