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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Towards a sustainable future for aquaculture that safeguards natural biodiversity.”

The problem

The potential genetic effects of aquaculture activities have aroused a great deal of concern among scientists and the general public. The perceived risks are often associated with interbreeding with natural populations and the adverse effects of ecosystem interactions. Public health issues are also a matter of concern. There is a need to increase the knowledge necessary to assess genetic effects of aquaculture on biodiversity and disseminate this information to a wider public.

GenImpact  Investigating the genetic co-existence of fishing and aquaculture activities


GenImpact will convene a series of expert workshops to review specific aspects of potential risks and concerns on interbreeding and aquaculture-ecosystem interactions:

  • Genetic structure of wild and farmed stocks to identify genetic risks from interbreeding
  • Assessment of triploidy as a mechanism to prevent interbreeding
  • Evaluation of risks of escapee transgenic fish establishing self-sustaining populations
  • Improved methods for monitoring escapee species
  • Models for evaluating the risk of farmed-wild
    stock interbreeding
  • Cultivation practice and procedures that influence the risks of farmed-wild stock interactions
  • Potential benefits and risks of DNA vaccines

Contribution to policy development:

  • GenImpact will strengthen the scientific basis for policy decisions the EU and Member States need to make to meet their international obligations for the protection of the natural environment and biodiversity
  • The project will identify gaps in current knowledge and prioritise research needs
  • The code of practice will provide a framework within which future management strategies can be developed to minimise the adverse environmental effects of aquaculture

Project deliverables

  • Final Interim Report: Genetics of domestication of fish and shellfish – May 2007
  • Final Interim Report: Monitoring tools – May 2007
  • Final Interim Report: Predictive tools - Modelling assessment and risk – May 2007
  • Annual progress report – October 2006
  • Development of management options to reduce genetic impact of aquaculture activities: Management workshop – June 2007; Final symposium – July 2007; Report outlining recommendations for management of genetic impact – September 2007
  • Final project report – October 2007


  • Launch project website and newsletter (at least three issues) – January 2006 with
    regular updates
  • Project reports published on website – ongoing

Technical information

Project acronym: GenImpact
Project’s official full title: Evaluation of genetic impact of aquaculture activities on native populations – a European network
Research priority: 1.3. Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 022802
Start date: 1 November 2005
Kick off meeting: 14-15 November 2005
Completion date: 30 September 2006
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs, 

Dr Terje Svåsand
Name: Institute of Marine Research
Abbreviated name: IMR
Address: Havforskningsinstituttet
Postboks 1870
Nordnes, 5817
Country: Norway
Tel: +47 55 23 85 00
Fax: +47 55 23 85 31


Name: Intituto Centrale per la Ricerca scinetifica e technologica Applicata al Mare
Abbreviated name: ICRAM
Country: Italy

Name: Universidad de Oviedo
Abbreviated name: UOVE
Country: Spain

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

Name: Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer
Abbreviated name: IFREMER
Country: France

Name: Institute of Aquaculture Research AS
Abbreviated name: AKVAFORSK
Country: Norway

Name: Universitatà di Padova
Abbreviated name: UNIPD
Country: Italy

Name: Université de Montpellier II
Abbreviated name: UM2
Country: France

Name: University of Iceland Institute of Biology
Abbreviated name: UoI
Country: Iceland

Name: Aristotle University of Thessalonika
Abbreviated name: AUTH
Country: Greece