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  The European Fish Index (EFI):
The European Fish Index is a multimetric fish-based assessment method for the ecological status of European rivers developed during the FAME project. The principle of the European Fish index is to

(1) predict reference conditions for any newly sampled site by modelling 10 reference metrics as a function of 13 abiotic, location and sampling variables. The 10 final metrics were selected as the most suitable ones based on statistical tests of ca. 200 potential metrics. In terms of functional aspects these metrics cover
  • trophic structure of fish assemblages (density of insectivorous and omnivorous species),
  • reproductive guilds (density of phytophilic species, relative abundance of lithophilic species),
  • physical habitat (number of benthic and rheophilic species),
  • tolerance (relative number of intolerant and tolerant species) and to
  • migratory fish behaviour (long-distance migrators, potamodromous species).
(2) calculate observed metrics based on sampled individuals
(3) measure the deviation between observed and predicted reference metrics by using residuals
(4) transform the deviation into probabilities that the metric belongs to the reference set
(5) calculate the final index as mean of the 10 probability metrics.

In order to support the type-specific approach of the WFD, the European Fish Types are an integrative part of the FAME assessment routine. These fish types were developed based on non or only slightly degraded sampling sites from 11 different ecoregions. Altogether, 15 types on the European level were identified. Abiotic variables differentiating these types are altitude, slope, mean air temperature, distance from source, wetted width, main river region, conductivity, ecoregion, and geographical position (longitude and latitude). These variables are also used to predict the fish type for any newly sampled site.

Within the FAME project, several tools were developed to apply the FAME assessment method in routine monitoring:
  • The FAME Software is a software routine to calculate the EFI as well as the EFT (Download FAME software);
  • The FAME Software manual provides a basic introduction into the EFI and EFT and gives a detailed description of the software (Download FAME manual);
  • Empty Input files for the EFI and for the EFT support the correct organisation and structuring of data for import into the FAME Software (Download Input file EFI, Input file EFT);
  • We also provide two tables with existing sampling data for testing and familiarization with the software; existing data were sampled during the FAME project to test the standardized sampling procedure (Download Test file EFI, Test file EFT).
For data input the FIDES database (Fish Database of European Streams) can be used. (Download FIDES, FIDES manual).
Finally, the standardized sampling protocol can be downloaded (download sampling protocol).

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