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CRAINat - Conservation and Recovery of Austropotamobius pallipes in Italian Natura2000 Sites.

Project Status : Active

Project Phase : Execution

Project Location : Lombardia, Abruzzi, Italy

Project reference : LIFE08 NAT/IT/000352

Duration : 01-JAN-2010 to 31-DEC -2014

Total budget : 3,086,259.00

EU contribution : 1,538,191.00

Project description:


Austropotamobius pallipes is a species of crayfish mainly associated with fast-moving waters such as small mountain streams and the springs of large rivers. The species is intolerant to any kind of water pollution and it needs water temperatures below 25AC, with quite high concentrations of oxygen. For this reason it is considered a good biological indicator of the quality of water in the rivers and streams where it is found. The main threats to the species are: isolation of populations (this causes a bottleneck effect and increases the vulnerability of the populations); habitat degradation and water removal; the effects of climate change; the spread of invasive species (Orconectes limosus and Procambarus clarkii); and poaching and lack of knowledge of the species among local populations.


The project has the following objectives:

To protect and increase the presence of Austropotamobius pallipes through the release of juvenile and mature crayfish in 47 Natura 2000 sites in the regions of Lombardia and Abruzzo, the Chieti and Isernia provinces, and Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park;

The establishment of biogenetic reserves to ensure the survival of the species against threats such as species isolation and river flow reduction;

The development of an agreed regulation at regional and local level for the conservation of the species, coherent with the aims of the Habitats Directive.

Species conservation training;

To create awareness of the importance of biodiversity and its protection among local stakeholders and communities.

Expected results:

Creation of a permanent national team for the conservation and management of native freshwater crayfish;

Assessment of the actual distribution of the species on at least 47 SCIs;

Estimation of the consistency, state of health and genetics of the resident native populations and newly obtained native populations;

Estimation of the presence and distribution of exotic species;

Assessment of the condition of potential introduction/reintroduction sites;

Increase of the spread of autochthonous crayfish in the Natura 2000 sites concerned and subsequent improvement of the quality of running water;

Creation/adjustment of new reproductive plants and an increase in know-how about crayfish aquaculture;

Establishment of high tech systems linked to one workstation for the surveillance and management of reproductive plans, thereby reducing the numbers of site visits and reducing related CO2 emissions;

Creation of at least three source areas for the spread of the species;

Production of 23 200 juvenile native crayfish specimens;

Updating and processing of an Action Plan for the management of the specie

country :Italy

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:May 19, 2014
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