FRESH (Fish Reproduction and Fisheries) was a COST Action to establish a network of
European and North-Atlantic researchers to co-operate on the improvement of i) knowledge on fish reproduction in relation to fisheries and ii) current assessment methodology in order to promote sustainable exploitation of marine fish resources. The Action will form a focal point for the disparate national, European and North-American research initiatives in this research area. Further, it aims to assist in the development of future marine policy objectives, such as the recovery of overexploited fish stocks.

FRESH started in June 2007 with a duration of 4 years. 14+2 European countries are involved, but it is expected that more will join along 2009.

The rationale of FRESH is based in the fact that most of the European marine fish resources are overexploited. Despite the technical measures implemented, many depleted stocks have failed to recover. There is increasing awareness that the traditional indicators of stock viability are inadequate because the capacity of the population to annually produce viable eggs and larvae is extremely important for stock viability and recovery. In addition, egg production is also influenced by ambient environmental conditions; the exact effects of which still have not been quantified.

Currently there are a number of research projects specifically examining the linkages between fish reproductive success and the subsequent population dynamics. In addition to these projects there is a need for increased cooperation between researchers, standardisation and cross calibration of the different protocols being used, enhanced exchange of ideas, demonstration of the latest advances and the creation of a common research platform that can provide fisheries managers with realistic tools for fish stock recovery.

The countries currently participating in FRESH are indicated in orange