The project

LIFE PREDATOR aims to combat the spread and further introductions of European catfish Silurus glanis in Southern Europe, where it is an alien invasive species,  contributing to the application of the EU IAS Regulation n. 1143/2014 in southern European lakes. An early detection system based on environmental DNA will be tested and developed in 48 lakes in Italy and in Portugal; the same system will be tested in 2 lakes in Czech Republic as reference condition in environments where the species is native and where it is welcome as native species. Data from eDNA will be integrated with citizen science records. In 10 selected lakes where the species is widespread and abundant, different capture methodologies are tested to select the best selective and effective capture method, which will be then applied to reduce the catfish biomass by 90 % in 5 small and isolated Natura 2000 lakes, at least 10 % in large lakes and reservoirs, 50 % in small reservoirs and involving in these activities at least 130 commercial fishermen and 100 anglers. Massive awareness-raising campaigns are organized targeting specifically anglers (at least 400,000) but also the general public, expecting to reach 1 million people at the end of the project, including 12,000 school children. Protocols and best practices are transferred to at least 15 management authorities to be integrated into their management plans, particularly of Natura 2000 sites. For the replication of the project results, a South European catfish Management Group (SEMG) is created. Additionally, to sustain the project goals where the catfish invasion is more advanced (i.e., northern Italy), the creation of a local circular economy is proposed, looking for the best solution to make the catfish more palatable and thus increasing the fishing pressure on catfish by encouraging its consumption as food. The catfish removed during control campaigns will be used for the preparation of meals sold at fair prices by social cooperatives to at least 1,000 people facing socio-economic challenges.

The project structure in Work Packages (WPs)