Are alien fish a reliable indicator of river health?

The ability of many introduced fish species to thrive in degraded aquatic habitats and their potential to impact on aquatic ecosystem structure and function suggest that introduced fish may represent both a symptom and a cause of decline in river health and the integrity of native aquatic communities. The varying sensitivities of many commonly introduced fish species to degraded stream conditions, the mechanism and reason for their introduction and the differential susceptibility of local stream habitats to invasion because of the environmental and biological characteristics of the receiving water body, are all confounding factors that may obscure the interpretation of patterns of introduced fish species distribution and abundance and therefore their reliability as indicators of river health.

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