Scientific Research Projects BITSE

Educational Capacity Strengthening for Risk Management of Non-native Aquatic Species in Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro)


Acronym: RiskMan

Competition title: Erasmus+: Capacity Building in the field of higher education – EAC/A02/2019

Funding: Erasmus+

Total value: 805 030,00 EUR

Funded amount: 805 030,00 EUR

Start date: 01. 10. 2020.

End date: 31. 10. 2022.


Along with climate change, the introduction of non native (NN) species is widely recognized as one of the main threats to aquatic biodiversity and impact to human well‐being. A large proportion of NN species is widespread in the Balkans countries. Major corridors for their spread are transboundary rivers and lakes, such as Ohrid-Drin-Skadar rivers system that drain a number of countries in the Balkans and create conflicts of interest since water resources are unevenly distributed among the States. Current research has also revealed the extent of the knowledge gaps on the current state, distribution and impacts of NN aquatic species in the Balkans. These gaps should be targeted through coordinated research to increase understating on the extent of invasive phenomena and inform stakeholders and decision makers to design future and effective conservation measures. The main aim of RiskMan Project is to strengthen the Educational Capacity for Risk Management of Non Native Aquatic Species in the Western Balkan Region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro) by promoting the education of stakeholders and higher education students and stimulate cooperation among the target countries. RiskMan Consortium comprises 13 partners from 8 different countries that will work together toward the development of the Citizens science based platform to be used in the Balkan Region as starting point for involving other Universities, Agencies, International or National institutions to promote and use it as a useful instrument for management of NN species. For the first time the project involves the collaboration between the CSOs, public and private institutions on the Balkan national and regional level. The added value of RiskMan Project is the involvement of part of higher education in targeted groups (i.e. students and employees) on non-native species’ risk management. The strength of the present project lies in the involvement of European leading countries in the aquaculture and fishing sectors such as Turkey, Greece, Italy and Croatia that will lead the target countries of Balkan toward a further development of these sectors in line with the international directives given by FAO, IUCN and the strategies of European Policy Cooperation. Given apparent gaps in the risk management of Adriatic fisheries and aquaculture as well as vulnerable nature of targeted countries (i.e. Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina) to NN species’ introductions, the importance of the innovative character of the proposed project is even more significant. In this regard, the current project is innovative in particular with the aspects of education of undergraduate and master students to acquire knowledge and related work experience regarding Risk Management of NN aquatic species. Also, for the first time it provides the opportunity for knowledge transfer between the academy and aquaculture industry on the project subject.


Prof. Marina Piria, PhD
University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture


Ivan Špelić, mag. ing. agr.
University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture

Tena Radočaj, mag. ing. agr.
University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture

Assoc. Prof. Ana Gavrilović, PhD
University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture