The need for a sustainable and secure food production and a better environment is a global priority.
Fish increasingly attract public, scientific and political interest around the world.
Recreational and commercial fisheries are prominent in our societies. Fish issues take a highly relevant position in discussions related to conservation biology and environmental protection efforts (e.g. effects of climate change, novel predators, novel animal-environment relationships on stress and as a consequence on fitness).
Anthropogenic activities (e.g. energy production, shipping traffic, industrial pollution) compromise wild stocks. Therefore, various international monitoring schemes aim to scientifically clarify their impact on the health status of oceanic niches. A similar situation exists for freshwater stocks as they are under threat by soil erosion, etc. as agriculture expands.
The human population keeps on expanding, making sustainable food production a global priority.
Fish protein is one of the most important protein sources for human consumption. Fisheries meet limits in yield and aquaculture expands rapidly worldwide. This is putting increasing pressure on farmers to produce in an optimal, sustainable and animal friendly way.
High numbers of fish (e.g. zebrafish) are used as vertebrate models and alternatives to rodents in biomedical research (e.g. in bone physiological research).
The imperative to maintain research-driven innovation in this sector, while global economic output dwindles, adds to exploitation of fish. In the recent past, ethics concerning fish welfare urged more attention as high numbers of fish are involved in fisheries, the rapidly growing and intensifying aquaculture industries, public aquaria and scientific research laboratories.
Appreciating and understanding fish biology as basis for management, control and decision-making in fish exploitation.
This puts a phenomenal challenge to those involved, coming from a multitude of disciplines (from molecular biology to eco-physiology), viewing from multiple angles (all different stakeholders) and representing highly specific expertise.
A similar situation exists for higher vertebrates (e.g. poultry, pig and cattle farms).