With 28 participating COST countries, COST Action FA1304 FITFISH (2014-2018) aimed to strengthen and improve our knowledge on the swimming of fish and its applicability in improving the status of wild and farmed fish by bringing together research and industrial partners with policy makers.
FITFISH had five Working Groups, each associated with one of the major objectives of the Action. The more practical WGs studied the functional mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of swimming (WG1) and explored applications for fish migration (WG2) and aquaculture (WG3). WG4 was concerned with the transfer of knowledge to end users and organised stakeholder workshops to involve the migration and aquaculture industry to explore the applications coming from the Action and its network. WG5 was concerned with the training of ESRs during the 15 STSMs that were performed and two training schools were organised on “Physiology and behaviour in aquaculture and during migration” and on “Methods and practical approaches for measuring oxygen consumption in resting and swimming fish”. WG leaders presented and reported annually on the progress made in relation to the MoU objectives. FITFISH has led to integrative new insights on the basic swimming physiology of fish, improved understanding of how fish migrate and how that changes in the light of a changing environment; improved fish welfare and production; technological applications, and provided a training ground for early stage researchers.
Annual conferences, management committee meetings and working group meetings were organised in Barcelona, Belgrade, Mostar and Porto. Working group stakeholder meetings were organised in Sete, Rotterdam, Stirling, Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Porto. The stakeholder workshop on biological solutions for fish migration issues in Porto was organised as World Fish Migration Day event. FITFISH congress sessions were organised at 11ICBF in Edinburgh, at 12ICBF in San Marcos (USA) and at the Fish Passage Conference in Groningen. Overall, activities showed 26% attendance of female participants; 27% ESRs and 35% ITC representatives while the MC consists of 21% female MC participants and 19% ITC representatives.
Extensive dissemination has been pursued adding up to totals of 119 abstracts in 9 different abstract books; 10 scientific articles (8 by COST participants) in a special issue of Frontiers Physiology and ebook (currently on May 23: 41,531 views!); 83 orals and 36 posters were presented. More easy-to-access disseminations were published such as articles in the Aquaculture Europe magazine, Conservation Physiology and BMC Developmental Biology. Still planned are a 2nd edition of the book Swimming Physiology of Fish and the scientific review papers of the Working Groups (WG1-3 and WG2) and the publication of the two questionnaires in popular papers. Further information is available through www.fitfish.eu.
The COST Action stops but FITFISH continues. The past four years we have been very successful in upgrading our knowledge of the swimming physiology of fish. But because fish should never stop swimming, the Action has only marked the start of a fascinating new research line.