Great Lakes briefs on Invasive Organisms Traded in Commerce Symposium

Understanding organisms in trade invasion pathways can prevent the spread invasive species to new geographic locations.

Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant/Michigan State University Extension) conducting AIS-HACCP/Aquaculture Biosecurity Workshop at Oswald Fish Farm in Minnesota. Photo credit: Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.

Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant/Michigan State University Extension) conducting AIS-HACCP/Aquaculture Biosecurity Workshop at Oswald Fish Farm in Minnesota. Photo credit: Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network recently hosted the Great Lakes Briefs on Invasive Organisms Traded in Commerce (BIOTIC) Symposium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The goal of the symposium was to advance knowledge and understanding of the organisms in trade (OIT) invasion pathway. The symposium identified research gaps to improve management of OIT and assisted with the transfer of information among researchers, managers, educators, OIT industries/associations and the public. The symposium presentations reviewed specific OIT invasion pathways and focused on work being done on topics relating to risk assessment, regulations, outreach and industry efforts.

Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and Minnesota Sea Grant gave a presentation on “The HACCP Approach to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species by Aquaculture and Baitfish Operations” at the symposium. The potential exists for aquatic invasive species (AIS) to spread to uninfested waters through the transport of wild harvested baitfish and aquacultured fish. Baitfish and aquaculture industries are diverse and complex, as are their risks of spreading AIS. Most industry segments pose no or very low risk of spreading AIS. To deal effectively and fairly with this potential vector, it is important to characterize the industry according to their risks of spreading AIS. Without adequate risk assessment of individual operations, regulations could be imposed, which would unnecessarily and negatively impact the economy of these industries, and still not effectively reduce the risk of spreading AIS.

One approach to this problem is to apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) concept similar to that used by the seafood industry to minimize seafood consumption health risks. The advantages of this system are that it can effectively deal with a diverse industry, it has proven to be a good partnership between industry and government regulators, and when properly applied, is effective. The HACCP approach concentrates on the points in the process that are critical to the safety of the product, minimizes risks, and stresses communication between regulators and the industry. The baitfish and aquaculture industries have been proactive in using the HACCP approach to prevent the spread of AIS by participating in training programs and implementing HACCP plans that are specific to their operations.

Other topics covered at this symposium included approaches to regulating invasive species in trade, live animal imports in the United States, Lacey Act Regulation of injurious non-native animals, Habitattitude, national review of pet release issues, internet trade of aquatic invasive species, environmental DNA surveillance of the bait trade for aquatic invasive species, and the ornamental fish trade as a pathway for invasive species.

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