The introduction and spread of invasive species is an emerging global problem. As economic and ecological impacts continue to grow, there will be an increasing need to develop innovative solutions and global partnerships to combat the increasing rate of invasions and their accompanying impacts. Threats to sustainable fisheries in North America associated with alien species come from many global directions and sources and can be deliberate or the unintended consequence of other actions. Decisions about the role of sustainable fisheries in protecting and restoring the health of aquatic ecosystems become even more complex when economic and social factors are considered along with environmental impacts, because many intentionally introduced species also have associated economic and community costs and benefits. Actions designed to prevent or control alien species in an aquatic ecosystem are often complicated by these nonenvironmental factors as well as public perception and opinion. Aquatic ecosystems are disturbed to varying degrees by alien species, including disease organisms. Prevention is the first and best line of defense. Determining likely pathways and effective countermeasures is more cost-effective than either eradication or control. Our ability to quickly identify new species and their associated risk to ecosystems is critical in designing and implementing effective control and management actions. Lack of infrastructure and necessary resources, clear-cut authority for regulation and action, and scientific information about the biology of alien species and effective control techniques are often limiting factors that prevent the needed action to protect aquatic ecosystems.
Additional Publication Details
Preventing, controlling, and managing alien species introduction for the health of aquatic and marine ecosystems