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An expert-based risk ranking framework for assessing pathogens in the live baitfish trade
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  • Margaret McEachran,
  • Fernando Sampedro Parra,
  • Dominic Travis,
  • Nicholas Phelps
Margaret McEachran
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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Fernando Sampedro Parra
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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Dominic Travis
University of Minnesota
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Nicholas Phelps
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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Abstract

As global trade of live animals expands, there is increasing need to assess the risks of invasive organisms, including pathogens, that can accompany these translocations. The movement and release of live baitfish by recreational anglers has been identified as a particularly high-risk pathway for the spread of aquatic diseases in the United States. To provide risk-based decision support for preventing and managing disease invasions from baitfish release, we developed a hazard identification and ranking tool to identify the pathogens that pose the highest risk to wild fish via this pathway. We created a screening protocol and semi-quantitative stochastic risk ranking framework, combining published data with expert elicitation (n=25) and applied the framework to identify high-priority pathogens for the bait supply in Minnesota, USA. Normalized scores were developed for seven risk criteria (likelihood of transfer, prevalence in bait supply, likelihood of colonization, current distribution, economic impact if established, ecological impact if established, and host species) to characterize a pathogen’s ability to persist in the bait supply and cause impacts to wild fish species of concern. The generalist macroparasite Schizocotyle acheilognathi was identified as presenting highest overall threat, followed by the microsporidian Ovipleistophora ovariae, and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. Our findings provide risk-based decision support for managers charged with maintaining both the recreational fishing industry and sustainable, healthy natural resources. The ranking process, implemented here for a single state case study, provides a standardized conceptual framework that could be applied across jurisdictions to inform risk-based management of the live baitfish pathway.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

28 May 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
29 May 2020Assigned to Editor
29 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
05 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
13 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major