FishPopTrace is a collaborative project involving 15 research groups (from the EU, Norway and Russia), specialized in fish population genetics, molecular biology, proteomics, microchemistry and biochemistry, experts in wildlife forensics, stakeholders of the fisheries industry and, as a scientific consultant, a senior staff member of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). FishPopTrace was launched in March 2008 under the umbrella of the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
While FishPopTrace starts out following a fundamental and explorative research approach, we will, based on the broad range of expertise available within our consortium, build a framework providing end-user tools in the areas of fish population analysis and fish (product) traceability as well as for policy related monitoring, control, surveillance (MCS) and enforcement in the fisheries sector.
The holistic approach underlying FishPopTrace is also expected to be beneficial in the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, for conservation and fisheries management measures, and for monitoring and surveillance of marine stock enhancement and aquaculture.
By estimating that worldwide 60% of marine fish stocks are at their maximum sustainable limits or overexploited, the latest FAO report on the state of fisheries and aquaculture (2007) stresses indeed that effective measures to counteract the dire and alarming state of many fish populations are urgently needed, also with respect to potentially huge socio-economic negative impacts if no further action is taken.
All our strategies and activities are guided by these observations which also underlie our rationale.