LIFE BARBIE - Conservation and management of Barbus meridionalis and Barbus plebejus in the Emilian tributaries of Po River

LIFE13 NAT/IT/001129

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Contact details:

Contact person: Francesco Nonnis Marzano
Tel: 390521905643
Fax: 390521905657
Email: francesco.nonnismarzano@unipr.it

Project description:


Recent studies show a significant decline in native barbel populations (a species of fish) in the main and secondary rivers of northern Italy. The recent IUCN classification of Italian vertebrates raised the risk status of the Barbus plebejus to “vulnerable” and of the Barbus meridionalis (sin. B. caninus) to “endangered”. Particularly the Emilian tributaries of the Po River have faced local population extinctions due to habitat alteration and fragmentation, river discontinuity and competition with alien species.


The project aims to preserve and restore the native populations of the Barbus meridionalis and Barbus plebejus in 14 Natura 2000 sites in the Emilia-Romagna region. The sites are distributed over a wide geographic area, from the Apennines to the Po River plain. Specific project objectives are:

  • The creation of new native barbel populations and/or re-stocking existing populations after evaluating the environmental suitability and composition of existing communities;
  • The identification of threats to the survival of the targeted species at local level and networking activities at interprovincial scale to safeguard their long-term management;
  • The eradication/control of exotic barbus species; and
  • The implementation of guidelines for the conservation and sustainable management of the targeted species for application at local and European level.
  • Expected results:

  • Ecological studies to assess the “state of the art” and the relationships of the targeted species to their habitat;
  • Monitoring plans to verify the presence of exotic species;
  • Genetic characterisation of the different populations to define their molecular variability and their correct taxonomy, with particular reference to the definition of hybridisation events;
  • Identification of the main environmental changes;
  • Implementation of restoration work on at least seven sites;
  • Refurbishment of three existing fish hatcheries;
  • Reintroduction/restocking of the target species in all Natura 2000 sites where the species were previously present; and
  • Agreements on anti-poaching and the sustainable management of water resources.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Fish


endangered species‚  freshwater ecosystem‚  protected area‚  river‚  restoration measure

Target species

 Barbus meridionalis   Barbus plebejus   

Natura 2000 sites

SCI IT4010006 Meandri di San Salvatore
SCI IT4010008 Castell'Arquato, Lugagnano Val d'Arda
SCI IT4010011 Fiume Trebbia da Perino a Bobbio
SCI IT4020003 Torrente Stirone
SCI IT4030013 Fiume Enza da La Mora a Compiano
SCI IT4030014 Rupe di Campotrera, Rossena
SCI IT4010016 Basso Trebbia
SCI IT4010017 Conoide del Nure e Bosco di Fornace Vecchia
SCI IT4020017 Aree delle risorgive di Viarolo, Bacini di Torrile, Fascia golenale del Po
SCI IT4020020 Crinale dell'Appennino parmense
SCI IT4020021 Medio Taro
SCI IT4020022 Basso Taro
SCI IT4020025 Parma Morta
SCI IT4030023 Fontanili di Gattatico e Fiume Enza



Coordinator Università degli studi di Parma
Type of organisation University
Description The Department of Biosciences of the “Università degli Studi di Parma” merges the original Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Sciences departments. Its main fields of research are the study of the ecology and biogeochemical cycles (the natural circulation pathways of the essential elements of living matter) of inland wetlands; in situ and ex situ conservation programmes of autochthonous fish species; and the implementation of management plans for Natura 2000 sites.
Partners EGPB(Ente di Gestione per i Parchi e la Biodiversità), Italy GENTECH(Spin Off Gen Tech S.r.l.), Italy PNATE(Ente Parco nazionale dell'Appennino tosco-emiliano), Italy AdbPo(Autorità di bacino del fiume Po), Italy FMNS(Fondazione Mario Negri Sud), Italy


Project reference LIFE13 NAT/IT/001129
Duration 01-JUL-2014 to 31-DEC -2018
Total budget 2,189,378.00 €
EU contribution 1,085,025.00 €
Project location Emilia-Romagna(Italia)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version