Lab

Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries

About the lab

Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries is the exclusive existing Department in the Republic of Albania, who is reponsible for the preparation of the future experts of Blue Economy sectors, including fisheries and aquaculture or dealing with scientific disciplines of Marine Biology. Part of Department is represented by the Laboratory of Aquaculture and Fisheries in Durres.

Featured projects (6)

Project
In a human-altered marine environment, fragmented and subjected to unprecedented climate change, planning sustainable strategies for development requires to understand the distribution of marine biodiversity and how its variations impact ecosystem functioning and the evolution of species. Functional Connectivity characterizes the migratory flows of organisms in the landscape. As such, it determines the ecological and evolutionary interdependency of populations, and ultimately the fate of species and ecosystems. Gathering effective knowledge on Marine Functional Connectivity (MFC) can therefore improve predictions of environmental change impacts and help refine management and conservation strategies for the Seas. This is challenging though, because marine ecosystems are particularly difficult to access and survey. Currently, >50 institutions investigate MFC in Europe, by using complementary methods from multiple research fields to describe the ecology and genetics of marine species. SEA-UNICORN aims at coordinating their research to unify the varied approaches to MFC and integrate them under a common conceptual and analytical framework for improved management of marine resources and ecosystems. For this, it will bring together a diverse group of scientists in order to collate existing MFC data, identify knowledge gaps, reduce overlap among disciplines, and devise common approaches to MFC. It will promote their interaction with connectivity theoreticians and ecosystem modelers, to facilitate the incorporation of MFC data into the projection models used to identify priorities for marine conservation. Lastly, it will forge strong working links between scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders to promote the integration of MFC knowledge into decision support tools for marine management and environmental policies.
Project
Create a network of Mediterranean elasmobranch sightings data, through collaboration between different teams in various countries, to better understand the occurrence, seasonality and distribution of elasmobranchs in this region.
Project
The overall goal of the project is to promote the conservation of fish species communities of the Karaburuni-Sazani MPA.  To this aim the project will develop activities linked to three main objectives, namely: 1. Building a data collection system for local fisheries inside and outside the MPA in cooperation with local fishers; 2. Increasing fishermen awareness about the role of the MPA for conservation of coastal habitats and long-term sustainability of local fisheries. 3. Improve knowledge of the fishermen to reduce overfishing risks and protect relevant sensible habitat and species.
Project
Mediterranean mussel (M. galloprovincialis) is the most common bivalve species in the Mediterranean sea, able to survive across broad ranges of temperature and salinity. Albania is the 4th largest European producer of M. galloprovincialis, after Italy, Greece and France and there is an increasing trend. However, Mediterranean mussels is vehicles in the transmission of several bacterial and viral enteric diseases, where Rotavirus constitutes the main cause of severe diarrhea. The aim of our study was to investigate for the presence of Rotavirus in mussels from aquaculture sites, concentrated in Butrinti lagoon in Saranda, and from wild populations, Cape of Stillo by using molecular methods. The presented results represent the first time investigations results in Albania about Rotavirus presence in shellfish and they showed that Rotavirus were present in 41% of the mussels from wild populations, but fortunately the mussels from Aquacultures sites were Rotavirus free. The obtained results may be useful to revise the current regulations and make the detection of other pathogens (such as viruses) obligatory.
Project
The Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park, created in 2010, is the 1st MPA established in Albania. Fishing is only allowed in certain areas and only fishers holding a permit issued by the marine area management authorities are allowed to access it. In the last 3 years, management measures have been expanded and MPA managers want to improve fishers-management collaboration and strengthen the involvement of fishers in the management of the MPA. They plan to strengthen the effectiveness of management measures and fisheries monitoring activities in the territory. Albanian managers expect to build on the experience of the Italian MPA of Torre-Guaceto, also located in the Adriatic Sea, which is a success story of small-scale fisher’s involvement in the management of fisheries in an MPA. Indeed, the Torre-Guaceto MPA succeeded in overcoming the crisis between fishers and local authorities concerning the ban on fishing in the MPA when it was established in 2001. With the support of scientists, an agreement between fishers and managers was found to open certain areas to a regulated fishery co-managed by fishers and local authorities. Today, MPA fishers are key players in the definition of management measures and the effects on the resource are visible. This small project will thus make it possible to finance several meetings between fishers and managers of the two MPAs. The exchanges between these players will enable the sharing of knowledge and will give Albanian players the opportunity to study in the field the management and monitoring methods implemented in the Italian MPA. Albanian protagonists will be able to adapt these experiences to Karaburun-Sazan MPA in order to build a management and sustainable development strategy for fisheries. These exchanges will also strengthen the links between the playes of these two MPAs in the Adriatic, which will enable them to work together on common issues, such as invasive species for example.

Featured research (110)

Population genetic analysis of variation at five neutral microsatellite loci for Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from 18 sites along the eastern Adriatic Sea revealed little or no spatial variation. In contrast, seascape genetics analysis revealed a pronounced locus-specific gradient in allelic and genotypic frequencies across the study region. At a sixth locus, MGE7, the frequencies of two alleles, MGE7243 and MGE7249, were strongly associated, negatively and positively, respectively, with a single environmental variable - minimum salinity (minSAL). The frequency of the MGE7243/243 homozygous genotype was strongly negatively associated with minSAL, whereas the frequencies of the MGE7246/249 and the MGE7249/249 genotypes were strongly positively correlated with minSAL. Interpretation of these pronounced gradients is confounded by the fact that minSAL and another environmental variable, maximum sea surface temperature (maxSST), are highly correlated (R = -.911) and are therefore not necessarily acting independently. BLAST searches of the MGE7 locus against M. galloprovincialis whole genome shotgun sequence returned an alignment with contig mg10_S01094 (accession UYJE01010330.1) and 7 predicted M. galloprovincialis proteins VDI82194.1 - VDI82200.1. Conserved domain searches revealed a similar structure to the transcriptional regulator Msx2-interacting protein. The BLASTp search also returned significant alignments to Msx2-interacting proteins in Mytilus coruscus, Crassostrea virginica, and Haliotis rubra. The existence of the MGE7 gradient highlights the role that environmental variation may play in retarding gene flow among wild M. galloprovincialis populations, and also how the success of collection of young mussels (spat) from one site and their transfer to another site (the farm) may be influenced by a single factor such as minSAL or maxSST on a localized scale.
In Albania, the most produced species by the aquaculture sectors are represented (at a decreasing order) by gilthead seabream, European seabass, rainbow trout, carp species and Mediterranean mussels. The production of gilthead seabream and European seabass is realized by using the marine cage production systems along the south Adriatic and Ionian coasts of Albania. Like everywhere in the Mediterranean basin, the climate change effects are becoming evident in the marine aquaculture farms, according to the representatives of the aquaculture companies in Albania. Climate change poses increasing challenges to aquaculture, resulting in the need to develop appropriate tools to assess these challenges and support decision-making. By using Decision Support Software (DSS) for the Greek Marine Aquaculture, the aim of the presented study is to simulate the effects of climate change (CC) on aquaculture production and associated socioeconomic indicators by considering only the European seabass. In addition were performed the calculations of business economics of the farm for Bay of Vlora climate scenario and management options, based on the input values for the various prices and costs. Though it is a study about the marine aquaculture of Albania, all the hypothetical proposed adaptive measures emerged out based on the biological, physiological data of the European seabass and the relative technology applied in northern Greece marine farms. All these proposed adaptive measures should be seriously considered by the managers at local level and the policymakers at national level.
Fishermen from 9 countries distributed throughout the Mediterranean Sea were interviewed between May and December 2019 with the aim of compiling information about the current impact of fisheries on a large deepwater shark species, the bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus). A total of 382 professional fishermen belonging to 6 different gears (bottom trawling, bottom longline, drifting longline, trammel nets, gillnets and polyvalent) took part in the study. Bottom trawlers were the most interviewed fishermen (n = 148) and the best fleet coverage was obtained for bottom longline (38.89%). Results showed most captures of H. griseus occur in the Western and Central Mediterranean Sea, particularly during the warm months of the year and most commonly by bottom trawlers and bottom longliners. At-vessel mortality (AVM) was rather low in all gears but a slightly higher degree of individual mortality is suggested in trammel and gillnets. The population trend of H. griseus in the Mediterranean Sea could not be inferred from the interviews as answers were highly variable, but the overall trend in some countries may suggest this species is showing signs of population decrease. The results of this study are mostly aligned with the latest IUCN assessment but also recommend reviewing the current status of H. griseus in the Mediterranean basin. Further empirical research on post-release mortality would also be advisable to implement measures that help reduce this source of mortality.
Fresh water ecosystems in the Balkan region are well recognized by high level of endemism and therefore could be very sensitive to the negative impact of invasive fish species. These impacts are due to interaction among native and non-native fauna. Generally, the most obvious and common ones are competition for food and space resources as well as the predation. In order to evaluate the current or future impacts of these non-native fish species, Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK) risk identification screening tools was used to assess the invasiveness potential of these fish species in Albanian freshwater ecosystems. The basic AS-ISK score for all the considered species suggests that these species pose a high risk of being invasive, and this risk is expected to be even higher in the future for European perch, taking in consideration the potential effects of climate change. This study results suggest that it can be a useful decision-support tool for informing legislation, policy and management of potential, existing and even future, undesired translocations of non-native freshwater fish species in the country, like the northern pike.
Pumpkinseed fish is considered to be highly invasive; it has demonstrated great variability in its environmental biology in response to environmental conditions, since its first appearance in the European waters this species has established populations in at least 28 European countries. In Albania, pumpkinseed, was introduced in 1994, even though the pathways of its introduction are not very clear. Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK) risk identification screening tools was used to assess the invasiveness potential of pumpkinseed fish, Lepomis gibbosus, in Ohrid and Prespa lakes, in order to evaluate the current or future impacts of this non-native fish species. The basic AS-ISK score of 38.3 suggests the species poses a high risk of being invasive, and this risk is expected to even higher in the future, taking in consideration the potential effects of climate change (AS-ISK Climate Change Assessment = 49.7). This study was the first application of AS-ISK in Albania, and the results suggest that it can be a useful decision-supporttool for informing legislation, policy and management of potential, existing and future, undesired translocations of non-native freshwater fish species in the country.

Lab head

Rigers Bakiu
Department
  • Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries

Members (4)

Enkelejda Buda
  • Agricultural University of Tirana
Edlira Sadiku
  • Agricultural University of Tirana
Marsida Bllaca
  • Agricultural University of Tirana
Roland Kristo
  • Agricultural University of Tirana

Alumni (3)

Kristian Beqiri
  • Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Aleksandro Konomi
  • Agricultural University of Tirana