Important legal notice
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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Improving the way we assess European rivers.”

The problem

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires a standardised, fish-based protocol for assessing the ecological status of rivers. A pilot scheme was developed in the course of the EU-funded FAME project (2001-2004) – the European Fish Index. This earlier model was developed based on northern European rivers and water bodies. EFI+ will expand on the earlier experience to develop a more robust EFI applicable across all European running waters.

EFI+  An improved fish population index for European rivers


EFI+ will develop a more accurate and pan-European contribution to the Water Framework Directive by:

  • Evaluating shortcomings in the existing EFI with respect to the waters of central and eastern Europe and Mediterranean eco-regions
  • Extending the scope of the existing EFI to cover very large rivers
  • Analysing the relationships between river conditions and fish assemblages
  • Enhancing existing software to facilitate the calculation of the ecological status for running waters
  • Testing the utility of the new EFI+ through integration with the activities of the Common Implementation Strategy and ongoing national and international monitoring programmes, such as the Joint Danube Survey

Contribution to policy development:

  • The EFI will inform EU policy development with respect to sustainable development, water management and directives, such as the Water Framework Directive.
  • The EFI+ will help harmonise the application of Water Framework Directive standards across Europe.
  • EFI+ will provide standard protocols by which to judge applicant states and assist in their development.

Project deliverables

  • Hydromorphological pressures analysis and sampling and site selection strategy for floodplain rivers – January 2008
  • Evaluation of the present EFI in central/eastern, Mediterranean and floodplain rivers (all countries) – January 2008
  • Development of new metrics for the assessment of all European rivers – January 2008
  • Modelling of reference conditions and the sensitivity of candidate metrics to anthropogenic pressures – July 2008
  • Final development and validation of the new European Fish Index and method – August 2008
  • International Conference for WFD-compliant river assessment models and tools – January 2009
  • Final results – January 2009


  • Project website – from February 2007
  • Project progress newsletter – January 2008
  • An international conference will be hosted to present results to scientific community, administration and stakeholders – January 2009
  • Results dissemination through the popular, trade and scientific press – as opportunities allow
  • Presentation of findings to formal and ad hoc scientific meetings – as opportunities allow

Technical information

Project acronym: EFI +
Project’s official full title: Improvement and spatial extension of the European Fish Index
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 044096
Start date: January 2007
Kick off meeting: January 2007
Completion date: December 2009

Coordinator: Prof. Stefan Schmutz
Name: University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences
Abbreviated name: BOKU
Address: Max Emanuel-Str. 17, A-1180, Vienna
Country: Austria
Tel: +44 1 47654-5202


Name: Joint Research Centre
Abbreviated name: JRC
Country: Brussels           

Name: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute
Abbreviated name: FGFRI
Country: Finland 

Name: Cemagref – Agricultural and environmental engineering research
Abbreviated name: CEMA
Country: France 

Name: Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
Abbreviated name: IGB
Country: Germany         

Name: Hortobágyi Halgazdaság Rt.
Abbreviated name: HHKT
Country: Hungary          

Name: Aquaprogram s.r.l
Abbreviated name: AQUA
Country: Italy 

Name: Inland Fisheries Institute
Abbreviated name: IRS
Country: Poland 

Name: Technical University of Lisbon – Instituto Superior de Agronomia – Forest Department
Abbreviated name: ISA
Country: Portugal           

Name: Bacău University, Faculty of Sciences
Abbreviated name: BU
Country: Romania          

Name: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Abbreviated name: UPM
Country: Spain   

Name: Institute of Freshwater Research– Swedish Board of Fisheries
Abbreviated name: SBF
Country: Sweden           

Name: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Abbreviated name: EAWAG
Country: Switzerland      

Name: University of Hull
Abbreviated name: UHull
Country: United Kingdom