IMPRESS – Improved production strategies for endangered freshwater species

IMPRESS will provide a new generation of researchers with the multidisciplinary skills and competences needed to oversee new stocking strategies for Europe’s most important and threatened freshwater fish species.

Research Plan

Three key European diadromous species are included in IMPRESS ; the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and sturgeons (Family Acipenseridae). Over-exploitation and anthropogenic activities have critically endangered wild populations of these fish groups, especially sturgeons. The main flaw of past stock enhancement is high post-release mortality, and therefore the researcher training in IMPRESS will build upon recent scientific advances to develop innovative production regimes resulting in increased survival rates of released fish.

This paradigm shift in stock enhancement strategies will require changes at every level of the production cycle, from broodstock management and gamete quality to hatchery design. New in vitro and -omics technologies will be developed to solve current bottlenecks in the production cycle of sturgeons. IMPRESS will also train young researchers on the social dimensions of this complex issue, including the need to encourage a closer dialogue with the important stakeholders responsible for national and regional stocking programmes. Through dissemination and public engagement, all IMPRESS fellows will work actively to increase public awareness on the importance of these key fish species to freshwater biodiversity, and on the major societal benefits of healthy fish populations.

IMPRESS is structured into four Work Packages (WPs), including Project Management and Quality Control (WP1), Training-Through-Research activities (WP2), Training Programme (WP3) and activities releated to Dissemination and Outreach (WP4). The Research Programme (WP2) is organized into five interconnected thematic Sub-Programmes (SPs).

Project structure of IMPRESS

Project structure of IMPRESS (WP = Work Package, SP = Sub-Programme, ESR = Early-Stage Researcher)