Definition

Risk analysis and assessment is the examination of factors and the estimation of probable outcomes that might occur from the actions or in actions that we take in resource management. Agencies and-society are sometimes required to make decisions without adequate information or understanding of the possible consequences.

The Service's Fish Health Program includes risk analysis and assessment as part of a comprehensive fish health approach. Investigations and monitoring of aquatic animals within ecosystems and employment of interdisciplinary techniques are utilized to fully analyze aquatic health interactions and impacts. This analysis of data and monitoring of effects will continually evaluate our assumptions and theories of fish health and resource management programs.

Value

A Service Fish Health Program that includes risk analysis and assessment must ensure a continual examination of a broad range of parameters that affect aquatic ecosystems. Risk assessment is often reported as probability rather than certainty, but a comprehensive approach provides more useful information to allow flexible responses and informed decisions by managers and the public. These analysis and assessment techniques will increase the total knowledge and understanding of pathogens, hosts, the environment and the maintenance of health in both artificially propagated and wild fish populations. The increase in data and knowledge leads to better understanding of the complex interactions of aquatic ecosystems.

Benefits

A valid and comprehensive risk assessment of fish health parameters within an ecosystem will provide hatchery managers, resource biologists, tribes, states, and the public with vital information to make informed decisions regarding impacts to aquatic animals. Risk analysis is also essential for providing recommendations and decisions for increased productivity and utilization.