Decision support tools for the identification and management of invasive non-native aquatic species

Two versions of the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK) are available on this page for use to identify potentially-invasive, non-native aquatic species. These are based in Excel® using VisualBasic for Applications® (VBA) code from the original Weed Risk Assessment (WRA) toolkit (Pheloung et al. 1999). We are grateful to  P.C. Pheloung, P.A. Williams and S.R. Halloy for providing an open version of their original WRA toolkit, with permission to adapt the original code for development of VBA-driven toolkits available here. Developed by Cefas and its international partner at the University of Lodz, the first adaptation of the WRA for aquatic animals was the freshwater Fish Invasiveness Screening Kit, FISK (Copp et al. 2009), followed by its Spanish translation (S-FISK) and then ‘sister’ toolkits: the Marine Fish Invasiveness Screening Kit (MFISK), the Marine Invertebrate Invasiveness Screening Kit (MI-ISK), the Freshwater Invertebrate Invasiveness Screening Kit (FI-ISK), and the Amphibian Invasiveness Screening Kit (Amph-ISK). Support for this earlier taxon-specific toolkits ceased with the release in 2016 of the AS-ISK, and the use of those out-of-date toolkits is discouraged. For further information on these out of date toolkits, contact Dr Lorenzo Vilizzi.

The toolkits available here are Crown copyright but may be downloaded for free, and freely distributed provided this notice is retained. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made and users should satisfy themselves as to the applicability of the results in any given circumstance.

Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK)

The AS-ISK (Copp et al. 2016a), which replaces all previous, taxon-specific invasiveness toolkits, may be applied to all aquatic plants and animals from any type of aquatic system (marine, brackish, freshwater), with the exception of infectious agents (parasites and pathogens), which are normally assessed with screening and risk assessment schemes developed specifically for infectious agents. The AS-ISK was created by integrating the generic screening module of the European Non-native Species in Aquaculture Risk Analysis Scheme, ENSARS (Copp et al. 2016b), into the architecture of FISK v2.03. The AS-ISK v2.2 and v2.3.3 are multilingual, offering assessors over 30 language options with which to carry out their risk screening of non-native aquatic species (see Copp, Vilizzi et al. 2021). Two versions of the AS-ISK are available: v2.3.3 is known to run without issue under Windows®10/11 with Excel® 365. If difficulties are encountered in using the AS-ISK v2.3.3 with other Windows® and Excel® configurations, then try the AS-ISK v2.2, which should function without issue. If that is unsuccessful, then contact Dr Lorenzo Vilizzi. Note that the AS-ISK does not run on Mac OS except using a virtual machine running Windows 10 and the latest version of Excel®.

The AS-ISK has been applied to risk assessment areas in five continents – for a review and meta-analysis of these trial applications, see Vilizzi, Copp et al. (2021).

The AS-ISK has recently been adapted (see Vilizzi et al. 2022) to create the Terrestrial Animal Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (TAS-ISK), which also offers assessors 32 language options for carrying out screenings. 


Management Options Impact Assessment Scheme for Non-native Freshwater Fishes

This modular assessment scheme was developed to assist in the risk management of introduced alien fishes. The description of the scheme (in Britton et al. 2011) includes example assessments of recent case studies in England and Wales. The scheme’s five sequential modules are contained in a single, multi-sheet, simple Excel® file.