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A well established pattern of small risks is over assessed when dealing with the introduction of non-native fishes according to a paper published in the journal Fish & Fisheries on 18 February 2008.(the full article can be found at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/faf/9/1)

Lead author Rodolphe Gozlan from the Bournemouth University (BU) said: “Looking into the future, the environmental changes that freshwater ecosystems may encounter will have inevitable implications on the distribution of our native freshwater fish species and the need to rely on non-native introductions will become a growing reality.” This paper although controversial highlights our complex attitude toward “non-natives” in general.

The scientist working for the Bournemouth University has found that on the global scale, the majority of freshwater fish introductions are not identified as having an ecological impact whilst having great societal benefits.

The scientist blame the risk perception associated with the introduction of non-native species where small risks are over assessed. “We need to open a critical debate on the real threat posed by the introduction of non-native fishes” added Dr Gozlan

But the researcher, funded by European Commission, found that the number of freshwater fish introductions will continue to rise and a more realistic attitude, despite being sometimes controversial, will need to be adopted. This would mean “protecting some introductions that present beneficial outcomes for biodiversity and a more systematic ban of species or families of fish presenting a higher historical risk” said Dr. Gozlan

For these reasons, when looking at the issue of non-native fish introductions, “the ecological risk should not be taken in isolation but balanced with the benefits of the introduction as well as the aspect of equity which needs to be built in the policies regulating import of species.“ said Dr Gozlan


Notes to Editors
Bournemouth University is an internationally renowned scientific academic institution and advisory establishment, based in Dorset (UK). BU undertakes work on fisheries management, environmental protection and conservation. It offers a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory to government departments (UK), international agencies, commercial companies and aid organisations. For more detail see the BU website: www.bournemouth.ac.uk/

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