Workshop on Risk Assessment Tools in Aquatic Species
 
Biological invasions are natural phenomenon occurred at very long time periods whenever in case of physical and chemical barriers are removed by especially human interference, transfer of the species beyond their natural ranges is facilitated and accelerated, and consequently these species impact nature of ecosystems. However, considering that all non-native species would lead an invasion in their introduced range is not entirely true. In some cases, an alien species cannot adapt its new environment and would be extirpated because of problems it experiences in feeding and reproduction or even if it managed to adapt, some species do not expand their distribution range and could establish only local populations. If these species found suitable empty niches and habitats, they create no change in the ecosystems and live in harmony with recipient native species.
 
New species are usually introduced to novel environments with the aim of food utilization, ornamental and sportive fishing, as a result of either accidentally or unauthorized translocations by people. It is inevitable to utilize new species because of increasing world-wide human population demanding more food. However, these new species should be assessed for their adaptation capabilities and invasiveness potentials. Adaptation of these species, which are to be reared as a food resource would not be the same at all conditions and their likely escapees through natural waters can cause serious biological and economic problems. It is therefore necessary to assess the risks and impacts of a non-native species for keeping these problems at an acceptable level or entirely avoiding them. 
 
Risk screening systems is used to predict the potential invasiveness of a non-native species when introduced to new regions. Risk screen predictions are based on a synthesis of information on the biology of the species, biogeographical and climatic features of the invaded and origin regions, and ecological and evolutionary traits of both the species and regions in question. Characteristic traits of risk screening methods include peer review, repeatability, specific data requirements in question-based format, using simple computer programs, incorporation of uncertainty and explanations, and applicability to a variety of differing taxonomic origins. Risk screening systems have a broad range of uses and implementation strategies. They can be particularly useful when attempting to distinguish between large suites of potentially invasive and non-invasive species in a timely and cost-effective manner. One of the key decision-support tools developed for the screening of non-native species was the Weed Risk Assessment (WRA). The WRA template was then adapted for freshwater fishes in 2005, yielding the Fish Invasiveness Screening Kit (FISK). This tool has recently been upgraded to AS-ISK (Aquatic Species Invasiveness Scoring Kit). This new tool includes a generic screening module for identifying all potentially invasive organisms (plant, invertebrate, fish) associated with any aquatic environment, i.e. marine, brackish and freshwater. It has been translated into several languages including Turkish. However, risk assessments in ESENIAS countries including Turkey have been done only on freshwater fishes so far through FISK v2. Hence, the aim of this workshop on risk assessment of non-native species will be on introducing and implementation of using AS-ISK tool that is applicable to all aquatic plants and animals regardless of ecosystem (i.e. marine, brackish and freshwater) and fill the important gap on this issue in Turkey and other ESENIAS countries. 
 
Organizing Committee
 
 

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