Understanding the biological and socio-economic risks associated with existing and potential aquatic invasive species is essential for an aquatic invasive species program to be successful. Effective programs are based on risk analyses, in which risk assessment informs risk management and both are communicated to resource managers and the public. Risk assessments provide valuable information that can be applied to many areas of an aquatic invasive species program. Based on biological and socio-economic risk assessments, appropriate risk management actions related to prevention, early detection and rapid response, and control can be undertaken. In particular, biological risk assessments inform both socio-economic risk assessment and subsequent preventative, monitoring, and control management actions. The uncertainty and knowledge gaps identified in risk assessments help identify and prioritize future research. Risk assessments are used to identify the riskiest aquatic invasive species and pathways and can be used to identify effective management, policy, and legislative actions to minimize risk. This, in turn, allows for the optimal allocation of limited resources to combat aquatic invasive species; therefore, risk assessment should be considered the cornerstone of a successful aquatic invasive species program. This article describes the risk analysis of aquatic invasive species, with emphasis on biological risk assessment and how they can be managed using marine and freshwater examples, with particular emphasis on the risk assessment of Bigheaded Carps in North America.

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