Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A risk assessment for the introduction of invasive fish for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Canada

Mathew Davis A C , Chris McCarthy B and Karen Beazley A

A School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Avenue, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2, Canada

B Kejimkujik National Park & National Historic Site, Mainland Nova Scotia Field Unit, Maitland Bridge, NS. B0T 1B0, Canada

C Corresponding author. Email: mat.davis88@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16069
Submitted: 9 March 2016  Accepted: 5 September 2016   Published online: 10 November 2016

Abstract

Recent research has highlighted the need for invasive species risk assessments that consider multiple factors, such as habitat suitability and life history. With invasive species encroaching on the boundary of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site (Kejimkujik), Canada, there is concern surrounding the potential ecological effects on the Park’s freshwater ecosystems. Herein we present a multifactor risk analysis for the risks of introduction of two invasive species, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel. Methods included computer-based analysis of cost–distance and habitat suitability, and a literature-based review of management techniques. Smallmouth bass were found to have a high risk of establishment and consequent ecological effects in Kejimkujik. Although chain pickerel can also negatively affect aquatic communities, their separation from the Park’s primary watershed and low dispersal ability resulted in lower levels of risk. Four recommendations were developed following a review of management techniques: (1) containment of the source population for smallmouth bass; (2) public education, outreach and communication; (3) monitoring and rapid response upon detection; and (4) collaboration with other parties. Although the present study focused on Kejimkujik, similar challenges for invasive freshwater fish assessment and mitigation exist elsewhere, and our methods may prove illustrative for researchers and managers working under similar conditions.

Additional keywords: cost–distance, freshwater, introduced species, protected areas.


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