Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Are we Transporting Exotic Species?
Midwest Region, July 15, 2008
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As fish biologists working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we get to routinely sample different bodies of water, from lakes to rivers and streams, in a three state area. Although this makes the job more exciting, we may be unintentionally bringing hitchhikers, namely exotic species, along for the ride. Earlier this month Columbia National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NFWCO) attended a workshop to help make sure this does not happen.


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point training, or HACCP, is a method that can be used to reduce the risk of transferring exotic species from one habitat to another. It focuses on the activities that occur throughout a work day and during which of those activities an exotic species may come in contact with your gear. Once the activities most likely to pick up hitchhikers have been identified, you can create methods to remove those exotic species and deal with the situation. This way the exotic species will not travel with you to the next destination.  After doing this for each sampling method the office uses, the final result is a series of HACCP plans to stop the spread of exotic species. Each HACCP plan indicates one or two critical points where the hitchhiking exotics can be effectively removed for each sampling method. Once these plans have been set in place, we can be sure that our efforts to help aquatic ecosystems is not also a disaster waiting to happen. 

Contact Info: Brian Elkington, (573) 445-5001 ext 25, Brian_Elkington@fws.gov
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