The title says it all. Most people probably haven’t heard of the HACCP process before, and those that have are likely familiar with it in the food service industry. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and it was developed in the 1960’s as a way to prevent astronauts from being exposed to food borne illness. The process was since adopted by the FDA thanks to its effectiveness in preventing the spread of disease via processing and packaging of food.
So why is this Sea Grant fish guy talking about astronaut food?
In a dramatic turn of events, folks from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network adopted this process years ago and used it to prevent the spread of invasive species and diseases and ensure quality control in the Great Lakes seafood and bait fish industries. Other thoughtful Sea Grant and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees morphed the process even more to address the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in natural resource management activities. (If you’re not familiar with AIS, check out my previous CD blog on Alien Invaders.)
As it turns out, this process is pretty successful in preventing the spread of AIS. So much so that there are a number of folks across the country that are certified to train natural resource managers on using the HACCP process in their work. That list includes my colleagues Jenny Roar and Eugene Braig, who along with myself will be hosting an AIS-HACCP workshop at Stone Laboratory August 28-29, 2017.
If your work finds you in the field, then you are a potential vector for spreading AIS, and you should strongly consider taking this workshop. If you know a natural resource professional, please forward along the information so they can help us protect our natural resources from the scourge of invasive species. Even if you’re not a professional in the field but enjoy outdoor recreation, remember to always take steps to prevent the spread of invasive species!
- Learn to recognize AIS and report new sightings to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
- Clean, Drain, Dry! When using boats or other aquatic recreational equipment, before leaving the water access: inspect and remove foreign material, drain water from all containers (bilge, livewell, etc.), clean with high pressure and/or heated water, and allow to dry for at least five days before transporting between bodies of water. Learn more at stopaquatichitchhikers.org/.
- Dispose of unwanted bait, worms and fish parts in the trash.
- Get Habitattitude! Never dump aquarium pets, plants, other organisms, or water, including bait, from one water body into another. Learn more at www.habitattitude.net/.
For more information on AIS-HACCP, or AIS in the Great Lakes, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title stolen from the creative brain of Sarah Orlando.
Photos and captions from USF&WS AIS HACCP Manual
Tory Gabriel is an Extension Specialist, Program Manager for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.