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Guidance documents: Continued support to improve operations of fish hatcheries and field sites to reduce the impact or prevent establishment of New Zealand Mudsnails and other invasive mollusks

January 1, 2017

This project tested and revised a risk assessment/management tool authored by Moffitt and Stockton designed to provide hatchery biologists and others a structure to measure risk and provide tools to control, prevent or eliminate invasive New Zealand mudsnails (NZMS) and other invasive mollusks in fish hatcheries and hatchery operations. The document has two parts: the risk assessment tool, and an appendix that summarizes options for control or management.

The framework of the guidance document for risk assessment/hatchery tool combines approaches used by the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) process with those developed by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, in the Tri-National Risk Assessment Guidelines for Aquatic Alien Invasive Species. The framework approach for this attached first document assesses risk potential with two activities: probability of infestation and consequences of infestation. Each activity is treated equally to determine the risk potential. These two activities are divided into seven basic elements that utilize scientific, technical, and other relevant information in the process of the risk assessment. To determine the probability of infestation four steps are used that have scores reported or determined and averaged. This assessment follows a familiar HACCP process to assess pathways of entry, entry potential, colonization potential, spread potential. The economic, environmental and social consequences are considered as economic impact, environmental impact, and social and cultural influences.

To test this document, the Principal Investigator worked to identify interested hatchery managers through contacts at regional aquaculture meetings, fish health meetings, and through the network of invasive species managers and scientists participating in the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species and the 100th Meridian Initiative's Columbia River Basin Team, and the Western New Zealand Mudsnail Conference in Seattle. Targeted hatchery workshops were conducted with staff at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery Complex (ID), Similkameen Pond, Oroville WA, and Ringold Springs State Hatchery (WA).

As a result of communications with hatchery staff, invasive species managers, and on site assessments of hatchery facilities, the document was modified and enhanced. Additional resources were added to keep it up to date. The result is a more simplified tool that can lead hatchery or management personnel through the process of risk assessment and provide an introduction to the risk management and communication process.

In addition to the typical HACCP processes, this tool adds steps to rate and consider uncertainty and the weight of evidence regarding options and monitoring results . Uncertainty of outcome exists in most tools that can be used to control or prevent NZMS or other invasive mollusks from infesting an area. In additional this document emphasizes that specific control tools and plans must be tailored to each specific setting to consider the economic, environmental and social influences. From the testing and evaluation process, there was a strong recognition that a number of control and prevention tools previously suggested and reported in the literature from laboratory and small scale trials may not be compatible with regional and national regulations, economic constraints, social or cultural constraints, engineering or water chemistry characteristics of each facility.

The options for control are summarized in the second document, Review of Control Measures for Hatcheries Infested with NZMS (Appendix A) that provides sources for additional resources and specific tools, and guidance regarding the feasibility and success of each approach. This tool also emphasizes that management plans need to be adaptive and incorporate oversight from professionals familiar with measuring risks of fish diseases, and treatments (e.g. the fish health practitioners and water quality and effluent management teams). Finally, with such a team, the adaptive management approach must be ongoing, and become a regular component of hatchery operations.

Although it was the intent that this two part document would be included as part of the revised National Management and Control Plan for the NZMS proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and others, it is provided as a stand-alone document.

Publication Year 2017
Title Guidance documents: Continued support to improve operations of fish hatcheries and field sites to reduce the impact or prevent establishment of New Zealand Mudsnails and other invasive mollusks
Authors Christine M. Moffitt
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Cooperator Science Series
Series Number FWS/CSS-124-2017
Index ID 70192762
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle