SARF022: Novel species risk to biodiversity assessment study: as discussed within the Scottish Biodiversity Implementation Plans

Start Date: 5/1/06
End Date: 5/7/06
Main Contractor(s): Aquatonics Ltd
Other Sponsor(s): Highland Council, Aquatonics Ltd.

Objectives

This report views the protection of biodiversity in a broad context, ranging from protecting genetic diversity, through species and population diversity to the protection of habitat diversity.

We define novel species as those that have not been previously farmed on a commercial scale in Scotland. The study includes all potential commercial species (algae, invertebrates and fish). Native species are those that occur naturally in an area (in this case Scotland) and whose dispersal has occurred independently of human translocation (Manchester and Bullock, 2000). The principles of this study could be applied to nonnative species, but it seems unlikely that mariculture developments for non-native species would obtain the necessary licences. This study is primarily aimed at marine species, but could be adapted to cover freshwater species.

The main aim of this study was to provide a common framework that the aquaculture industry may use to assess the possible risk to biodiversity of introducing a novel species. There is no suggestion that assessing this risk will be rapid, just that there could be a common framework within which to assess risk. In particular, we aimed to produce a spreadsheet that will allow the relative risk of each species to be assessed.

Mariculturalists may also use the spreadsheet approach to assess the potential reduction in risk to biodiversity if additional mitigation measures are introduced. For a particular proposal the approach may be used to highlight those issues where there is uncertainty and more information is required.

Summary

A spreadsheet assessment tool has been developed