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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Understanding how intensive fishing can affect the evolution of fish.”

The problem

It is generally understood that high exploitation levels affect the abundance of fish stocks and their ability to maintain a viably spawning biomass. It is less widely recognised that fishing can exert selection pressures that induce genetic changes in age and size at maturation, growth rate, reproductive investment, and similar basic biological characteristics. Understanding the likelihood, frequency and rate of such changes is no less fundamental to the long-term sustainable management of fisheries than managing the abundance of stocks.

FinE  The effects of intensive fishing on evolution


FinE will analyse the prevalence and consequence of fisheries-induced adaptive changes in exploited fish stocks of particular relevance to the EU. The project will carry out case studies on northwestern and northeastern Atlantic cod, North Sea gadoids, flatfish, small pelagics, Atlantic salmon, and European salmonids. On this basis, FinE will:

  • Investigate salient trends in life-history traits
  • Elucidate the genetic basis of fisheries-induced evolutionary changes
  • Develop new quantitative models to describe trends in changing biological characteristics
  • Evaluate and deliver new insights and recommendations for addressing the induced evolutionary effects of modern fisheries

Contribution to policy development:

  • FinE will provide scientific insights in support of sound and coherent EU policies.
  • The project is designed to provide scientific support to the Common Fisheries Policy by assessing fishery-induced processes of evolution.
  • It will provide insights into potential effects of evolutionary change on both fishery dynamics and socio-economic issues.
  • Results will contribute to the establishment of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management.
  • FinE will provide suggestions for alternative management strategies for mitigating the undesired effects of fisheries-induced evolution.

Project deliverables

  • Progress reports – June 2008/2009
  • Integrative case studies on cod and sole – June 2010
  • Booklet on fisheries-induced evolution – June 2010
  • Project final report and policy implementation plan – June 2010


  • Project website – July 2007
  • Project leaflet – October 2007
  • Submission of significant results for publication in international peer-reviewed journals – as opportunity permits
  • Presentation of progress and results at workshops, seminars, and conferences – as opportunities permit
  • International conference on fisheries-induced evolution to present FinE results to the scientific community – June 2010

Technical information

Project acronym: FinE
Project’s official full title: Fisheries-induced Evolution
Research priority: Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 044276
Start date: July 2007
Kick off meeting: September 2007
Completion date: June 2010
European Commission scientific officer: Petter Fossum,

Coordinator: Ulf Dieckmann
Name: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Abbreviated name: IIASA
Address: Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg
Country: Austria
Tel: +43 2236 807 386
Fax: +43 2236 807 466


Name: Institute of Marine Research
Abbreviated name: IMR
Country: Norway

Name: French Research Institute for the Sustainable Exploitation of the Sea
Abbreviated name: IFREMER
Country: France 

Name: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated name: DIFRES
Country: Denmark

Name: Catholic University of Leuven
Abbreviated name: KUL
Country: Belgium

Name: University of Wales Bangor
Abbreviated name: UW
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Fisheries Research Services
Abbreviated name: FRS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University of Tromsø
Abbreviated name: UT
Country: Norway

Name: Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies
Abbreviated name: IMARES
Country: Netherlands     

Name: University of Oslo
Abbreviated name: UO
Country: Norway           

Name:Spanish National Research Council
Abbreviated name: CSIS
Country: Spain   

Name: Portuguese Research Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries
Abbreviated name: IPIMAR
Country: Portugal           

Name: Federal Research Centre for Fisheries
Abbreviated name: BFAF
Country: Germany         

Name: University of Iceland
Abbreviated name: UI
Country: Iceland 

Name: Swedish Board of Fisheries
Abbreviated name: SBF
Country: Sweden           

Name: Marine Institute
Abbreviated name: MI
Country: Ireland 

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

Name: Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Abbreviated name: DFO
Country: Canada