Prevalence of Aquatic Introduced Species Prevention Protocols at U.S. College and University Fisheries Programs

Jacob T. Westhoff and Travis A. Kobermann

We investigated the relatively unexplored vector of unintentional transport and introduction of nonnative aquatic species by fisheries students and university researchers conducting field sampling. We surveyed 85 fisheries programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States to determine the prevalence of formal or written protocols used to prevent the inadvertent transfer or introduction of aquatic organisms. Additionally, we explored why some institutions did not have protocols in place and what steps they would be willing to take to increase prevention efforts. We observed a 28% response rate; only 17% of respondents reported having formal written protocols to prevent the introduction of aquatic species. A significant number of respondents indicated a willingness to adopt protocols and encourage student participation in online training courses. We discuss the prospect of further training and accountability for fisheries students and professionals.

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