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.

SP1.

Broodstock Management

Broodstock Management

Broodstock management involves all measures taken by the farmer to enable a captive group of fish to undergo reproductive maturation and spawning. Many commercially important fish species fail to spawn naturally under captive conditions and therefore final maturation and spawning has to be induced artificially. We will develop new protocols for gamete development and spawning induction of broodstock using alternative treatments (environmental changes like photoperiod/temperature), or gonadotropin usage (homologous pituitary hormones, recombinant hormones, neuropeptides) for inducing gamete production.


SP2.

Gamete Quality and Management

Gamete Quality and Management

Successful fertilization is dependent on good quality gametes (eggs and sperm). We hypothesize that environmental treatments or gonadotropin implants could be used to reduce or partially replace the standard hormonal treatments that are currently used to achieve sexual maturation. This could result in better quality of the gamets, which together with an improved management also will benefit the production of wildtype conditioned sturgeon and salmon.


SP3.

Innovative production strategies for fish conservation and management

Innovative production strategies for fish conservation and management

In response to the dramatic decline in wild stocks of many of the world´s fish species, many attempts have been made to reverse this trend by releasing hatchery-reared juveniles back into the wild. Current intensive hatchery procedures result in captive-raised fish having reduced cognitive ability and behavioral responses compared to wild fish. While such hatchery procedures may be acceptable for the production of food fish they are increasingly being viewed as unacceptable for the production of fish used for the purposes of stock enhancement, or wildtype conditioning. IMPRESS researchers involved in this sub-programme will develop new production protocols designed to increase wildtype conditioning in fish raised under traditional intensive hatchery conditions, focusing on Atlantic salmon and sturgeon.


SP4.

New in vitro and –omics technologies

New in vitro and –omics technologies

Innovative research toward improved technologies for artificial reproduction, broodstock management and stocking strategies will benefit enormously from high-quality genomic resources. Researchers involved in this sub-programme will use Next Generation Sequencing technology and custom bioinformatics to develop new molecular tools to improve the controlled maturation of European sturgeon. The complete genome sequence of A. sturio will be mapped using an established de novo assembly pipeline and multiple tissue samples will be used to generate reference transcriptome profiles. These genomic resources will be used to develop new applications benefiting the development of new husbandry practices for the sturgeon and other threatened species.


SP5.

Socio-economic dimensions

Socio-economic dimensions

This sub-programme aims to study how key stakeholders in fishery management, conservation, stocking and angling activities assess and make trade-offs between pros and cons of existing and new hatchery techniques. We will map and quantify the potential economic and social benefits (individual, social/cultural, and economic) of successful restoration and conservation of iconic species Atlantic salmon, European eel, and sturgeon at the level of local communities in Germany, France and Norway. This sub-programme also aims to increase public awareness in the societal benefits of healthy biologically diverse freshwater ecosystems, of which diadromous fishes are a key component.