FRAM is powerful and simple to use. A series of straight-forward questions about the biology and behaviour of any alien species lead to it being ranked and categorised as a high, intermediate, or low ecological risk.
This indicates, for example, whether a proposed aquarium introduction is likely to meet an outright ‘no’ from the authorities, or the level of environmental impact assessment that may be needed.
A questionnaire is provided (see below) with questions listed under two sections: Establishment Risk and Impact Risk. The questions in each section are scored according to the options provided in the right hand columns. The total score for each section is then calculated and, together with the overall score, used in the Decision Support System (see below) to assess the overall risk of an exotic fish impacting New Zealand's freshwater ecosystems or biodiversity.