Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1299–1312 | Cite as

Governance of genetic biocontrol technologies for invasive fish

  • Ben Gilna
  • Jennifer Kuzma
  • Stephanie Showalter Otts
Original Paper


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.


Biocontrol Sex-skewing Autocidal Invasive Pest Governance Regulation Policy 



Many of the ideas in this paper stem from the International Symposium on Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Fish held in Minneapolis, MN, June 21–24, 2010. At this meeting, a diverse group of natural and social scientists and stakeholders convened to discuss the issues associated with GBC risk analysis and oversight. A consensus emerged on the need for more formal assessments of possible oversight regimes (see papers in this volume for other outputs). We thank the organizers and the National Sea Grant Office for making the symposium possible, and workshop participants for their input in discussion. Particular thanks goes to Leah Sharpe for co-ordination and comments, and to Cynthia Hagley for records of workshop discussion. Kuzma would also like to thank the Institute on the Environment of the University of Minnesota for partially supporting this work through her Resident Fellow grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Gilna
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jennifer Kuzma
    • 4
  • Stephanie Showalter Otts
    • 5
  1. 1.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.GenØkNorwegian Center for BiosafetyTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSICSevilleSpain
  4. 4.Humphrey School of Public AffairsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.National Sea Grant Law CenterUniversity of Mississippi School of LawUniversityUSA

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