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Governance of genetic biocontrol technologies for invasive fish

Ben Gilna, Jennifer Kuzma, Stephanie Showalter Otts
Biological invasions 2014 v.16 no.6 pp. 1299-1312
biodiversity, biological control, biological control agents, fish, governance, invasive species, issues and policy, laws and regulations, researchers, stakeholders
The modification of living agents for biological control can be collectively regarded as genetic biocontrol (GBC). Applications to invasive fish are an area of significant work in GBC, employing a diversity of techniques. Some of these techniques are governed by particular legislation, policy or treaty, (e.g., transgenesis), while others deliver agents with similar properties with minimal regulation. Together, this heterogeneity of governance and biology creates a number of challenges for effective use of GBC. In some cases, there are gaps and inconsistencies that pose real threats to biodiversity, and the long term sustainability of oversight arrangements as they currently stand is questionable. Researchers and would-be users of GBC for invasive fish must proactively engage with a variety of stakeholders to improve governance (in fish and other taxa), which we contend may include reconfiguration of relevant national governance systems, meaningful stakeholder dialogue and the creation of a new international treaty dedicated to biological control.