European Union Projects
Project duration: 
Apr 2022 to Mar 2025

The innovative research of FishME will be to evaluate the threat of fish introductions to high mountain lakes. With the FishME Management Toolbox, we will enable science to predict future impacts on ecosystem health of mountain lakes and the resulting socio-economic risks for society. Supporting FishME would create the unique opportunity to establish and subsequently strengthen the link of functional ecology, socio-ecology, microbial ecology, limnology and systems biology, a highly relevant and innovative step in modern biodiversity research, restoration and conservation.


Mountain ecosystems and the services they provide to society face multiple threats arising from global and climate change and its intercations with socio-cultural, economic and politcal developments. In particular, mountain ecosystems have been and will continues to be severely impacted by global change, threatening the livelihood of more than 50% of the human population. Mountain aquatic ecosystems, despite being one of the most important drinking water reservoirs for the human population, also represent biodiversity hotspots in generally sparse high-altitude landscapes. Recent fish introductions put pressure on these important ecosystems and started to include also relatively small lakes and adjacent wetlands. In addition, the use of small fish as alive baits for trout fishing is causing a new invasion wave. There is little data about the ecological impact of minnows at the moment. Considering collateral minnow introductions as a further stage of the invasion process of mountain lakes despict a desolating scenario, where many severely impacted lakes with minnows will even lose any recreational values and nearly all of its natural biodiversity.


​ The three main questions asked by FishMe are:

  1. What are the socio-economic and environmental motivations for fish stocking in mountain lakes?
  2. Which impacts of fish stocking have been detected so far an what is their social and ecological future trajectory on the ongoing invasion processes under climate and global change scenarios?
  3. How can the detrimental effects of fish introductions be mitigated while minimizing the impact on the livelihood and well-being of local human populations?


FishMe will draw on available data from project consortium members have been in volved in and will supplement this data with data from 6 lakes in each the French , Spanish Pyrenees, as well as the Italian and Austrian Alps (total 24 lakes). Those lakes will be along altitudinal gradients to capture the different climatic conditions mountain lakes are subjected to.

The work, structured four difeferent work packages will be synthesized in a Fish Removal Toolbox, a decision-suport tool for regional conservation policy -making. The Fish Removal Toolbox will include tools for predicting eradication efforts and eradication probabilities and residual population sizes during the eredication processes, assessments of the potential of non-invasive eradication techniques for contrasting fish invasions, and evaluations of alternative eradication methods for large and ecologically more complex lakes.

Proyecto PCI2022-132949 financiado por MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 y por la Unión Europea NextGenerationEU/PRTR