Important legal notice
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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Improving safeguards to prevent non-native fish invasions.”

The problem

Most fish species are indigenous to the area in which they are found but there are increasing numbers of non-native species being introduced throughout Europe. Some arrive through natural processes but the majority reach their destination as a result of human intervention, including aquaculture. Certain species are introduced specifically for breeding, others as accidental transfers, but all can influence the local environment, habitats and ecology. There is a need for an overall environmental and economic assessment of the importance and impact of aquaculture-related, non-indigenous species and guidelines for minimising their effects.

IMPASSE  Reducing the impact of alien fish species


IMPASSE will develop guidelines for environmentally sound practices for introductions and translocations in aquaculture, covering quarantine procedures, risk assessment protocols, and procedures for assessing the potential impacts of invasive alien species in aquaculture. It will:

  • Develop guidelines through a review of the economic importance of aquaculture-related introductions and translocations, and the assessment of genetic interactions with wild populations
  • Elaborate risk-assessment protocols for future aquatic species, with specific models to consider economic issues, potential environmental and economic impacts of diseases in wild aquatic organisms and ecosystems, genetic interactions with wild populations, and disruption of ecosystem structure and function

Contribution to policy development:

  • IMPASSE will help deal with invasive alien organisms in the aquatic environment with specific relevance to the Habitats Directive (92/43/EC), GMO Directive (2001/18/EC), the EIA Directive (97/11/EC), and the Animal Health Conditions of Aquaculture Animals Directive (91/67/EEC).
  • Guidelines produced by IMPASSE will help harmonise approaches to limiting the spread of non-indigenous species and pathogens throughout Europe and will also help policy-makers ensure that developments in European aquaculture take place in compliance with international treaty obligations.
  • The economic risk assessment will provide models to help ensure a competitive European aquaculture industry.

Project deliverables

  • Review of the importance of alien species in aquaculture operations and aquaculture-based restocking practices – Sept 2007
  • Report on the spread of novel pathogens and disease resulting from alien species – Dec 2007
  • Reports on the social, ecological and economic impacts on ecosystems caused by the introduction of alien species – Dec 2007
  • Review of risk assessment protocols (environmental, fish disease, social, economic) – Mar 2008
  • Report on mitigation-remediation procedures and contingency plans – June 2008
  • Report on risk-assessment protocols and decision-making tools – Dec 2008
  • Guidelines for environmentally sound practices for introductions and translocations – Dec 2008
  • Project final report – Dec 2008


  • Newsletter – April 2007, June 2008
  • Project website – updated regularly
  • Two project workshops and an international conference will be held to present results – throughout project
  • Presentation of project findings at scientific meetings and workshops – as opportunities permit
  • Submission of significant findings for publication in peer-reviewed international journals – as opportunities arise

Technical information

Project acronym: IMPASSE
Project’s official full title: Environmental impacts of alien species in aquaculture
Research priority: Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 044142
Start date: 1 December 2006
Kick off meeting: December 2007
Completion date: December 2007
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs,

Coordinator: Ian Cowx
Name: Hull International Fisheries Institute – University of Hull
Abbreviated name: HIFI UHULL
Address: Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1482 466 421
Fax: +44 (0)1482 465 458


Name: Environment Agency
Abbreviated name: EA
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Abbreviated name:CEFAS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Università degli Studi di Firenze
Abbreviated name: UNIFI
Country: Italy

Name: Gollasch Consulting
Abbreviated name: GoConsult
Country: Germany

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

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

Name: Federation of European Aquaculture Producers
Abbreviated name: FEAP
Country: Belgium

Name: Università degli Studi di Pavia
Abbreviated name: UNIPV
Country: Italy

Name: Coastal Research & Planning Institute, Klaipeda University
Abbreviated name: KUCORPI
Country: Lithuania

Name: Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation
Abbreviated name: HAKI
Country: Hungary

Name: Bournemouth University
Abbreviated name: BU
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Central Science Laboratory
Abbreviated name: CSL
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Veterinaermedisinsk Oppdragssenter AS
Abbreviated name: VESO
Country: Norway