Rapid response planning

Project Leader: Pam Clunie, Arthur Rylah Institute – Vic Department of Sustainability and Environment

Aim: To develop a plan to guide responses to new fish incursions.

Project:  9.f.1

Project summary

The initial objective was to develop a plan to guide responses to new fish incursions but as the project unfolded, a much wider national agenda emerged through the activities of the Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Working Group. The project team has liaised closely with members of this working group to align project development.

There is currently no rapid response plan for new pest fish incursions in Australia. The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), which arguably contains the highest proportion of alien fish in the country (approximately 25 per cent of MDB fish species are alien, and up to 90 per cent of individuals in some catchments), has no pest fish management strategy.

Early intervention best limits emerging problems and provides best returns on investment, however control measures frequently commence only when problems are well entrenched. Key outcomes of this project include literature reviews of national and international approaches to new pest fish incursions, of surveillance, eradication and control programs in Australia, and of international short term containment methods.

Key achievements

  • A Steering Committee was established and recognised that creation of an Australian Emergency Response Plan for Freshwater Fish Incursions was no longer the most appropriate or relevant outcome for this project. The initial bid was developed prior to the establishment of BEPWG, whose actions are proceeding rapidly. Several people involved in the management of emergency response arrangements for other sectors advised that there is no value in developing a ‘plan’ without recognition of the issue on a national level.
  • Two key documents have resulted from this project a) Management of Freshwater Fish Incursions – A Literature Review and b) Advancing the Development of National Emergency Response Arrangements for Freshwater Fish Incursions in Australia.

Key deliverables

  • The draft final report for the project outlines the scope of the initial project, its components, outcomes and evolution. A suite of 38 recommendations are outlined which provide context and explanation of their need and value.
  • A draft policy and objectives document for emergency response to freshwater fish incursions is also being prepared.
  • These documents will strategically assist key groups/representatives to foster national support for developing national emergency response arrangements for freshwater fish incursions.

Project team

Renae Ayres, John Koehn, Tarmo Raadik.

Project partners

IA CRC, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Vic Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Further information

Ayres R and Clunie P (in press 2009) Development of an Australian emergency response plan for freshwater fish incursions – a literature review 2009.

Ayres R and Clunie P (in press 2009) Advancing the development of National Emergency Response Arrangements for Freshwater Fish Incursions in Australia.

For further information, contact us.

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