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Disease interactions and pathogen exchange between farmed and wild aquatic animal populations - a European network.

Disease interactions and pathogen exchange between farmed and wild aquatic animal populations - a European network.

Final Report Summary - DIPNET (Disease interactions and pathogen exchange between farmed and wild aquatic animal populations - a European network)

The DIPNET research initiative aimed to strengthen the current scientific knowledge on transfer of pathogens and diseases between wild and cultured aquatic animal populations, to provide knowledge based scientific advice to policy development, to build networks among interested parties and, finally, to disseminate current knowledge towards knowledge users, other stakeholders and the wider European public.

The project was structured in five distinct, yet interrelated, work packages (WPs) which undertook activities towards the:

1. scientific review of disease interaction and pathogen exchange
2. risk assessment and modelling of pathogen exchange
3. epidemiology of infectious fish and shellfish diseases
4. network building and knowledge dissemination
5. scientific coordination and project management.

Firstly, an overview of current activities and methods in epidemiology and surveillance of infectious diseases in farmed and wild fish and shellfish was completed. The results were presented in an open workshop with numerous participating scientists, which provided further input for the preparation of the necessary documentation. Moreover, an analysis of risk assessment and predictive modelling in aquatic animal health was completed and an introductory risk assessment seminar, specifically targeted at potential users was organised, based on the collected material.

The implemented epidemiology and surveillance methods were also evaluated, resulting in the publication of numerous scientific reports. The need to strengthen the consequence validation part of current risk assessments in aquatic animal health was demonstrated, focussing on the need to include disease interaction aspects into aquatic animal health risk assessments in the future. In addition, lack of documentation regarding the accuracy of diagnostic tests was highlighted as the weakest point in current epidemiological studies of aquatic animal diseases. It was therefore suggested that test systems, including the use of pooled samples, should be validated for use in both farmed and wild populations.

DIPNET results were communicated to stakeholders and the general public through various dissemination activities, including the establishment of a project website, the distribution of newsletters and the participation in international conferences. Finally, a document summarising the project findings was prepared, forming the principal achievement of DIPNET. The available information was presented and discussed, following an ecosystems approach, with each of the analysed scenarios representing the situation in various parts of Europe.

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 6598

  • Start date

    1 October 2004

  • End date

    30 September 2006

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 516 360

  • EU contribution

    € 500 000

Coordinated by: