Research Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture (HAKI)

Research Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture (HAKI)

Last modified: 24. October 2022

The Research Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture was established 115 years ago. The center implements R&D&I programmes with the aim of providing a scientific background for sustainable fish production and the development of sustainable fish management practices in natural waters. It has three Departments and operates a gene bank.

  • The Department of Fish Biology carries out interdisciplinary research in the fields of nutrition, immunology and genetics. Priority areas include: i) the use of natural (non-specific) immune response enhancers, immunostimulants in fish farming; ii) searching for new feed materials and the development of innovative feed formulations; iii) the development of genetic techniques and their application to our economically important fish species.
  • The objective of the Department of Aquaculture Technology is to develop and improve fish production technologies through system-wide approaches based on the results of disciplinary research. The main research areas are: i) further development of intensive production technologies for perch and sturgeon; ii) increasing the efficiency of pond fish production through the development of combined systems and fish diversification; iii) modelling of technological and biological processes to understand the functioning of complex systems and to optimise technological interventions
  • The objective of the Department of Hydrobiology is to support sustainable natural water which contributes to the establishment of well-balanced angler tourism. The main research areas are: (i) the investigation and monitoring of natural water bodies; (ii) the design and implementation of restocking programs; (iii) the investigation of invasive fish species (silver carp, black bullhead); (iv) nutrient cycling in natural waters and fishponds, as well as the ecosystem services of pond farming.

For the implementation of the R&D&I and training programs, the center has 82 experimental earthen ponds with a total area of 30 hectares. There are several combined (pond-in-a-pond, cage-in-a-pond) systems as well. HAKI has the largest experimental recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) in the country, with a total volume of 160 m3, providing the technological background for intensive, precision fish farming.

HAKI maintains and continuously develops 16 domestic, European and Asian carp lines in its live carp gene bank. This gene bank forms the basis of the Institute’s international aquaculture development activities and carp breeding programmes. The genetically selected stocks of the four native sturgeon species in the sturgeon gene bank provide a unique opportunity for the rehabilitation of endangered Danube sturgeon stocks in Europe.

In addition to R&D, another activity of HAKI is the international transfer of knowledge and technology. The center plays a strategic role in providing technical support to policy tasks. The strategic partners of HAKI are the Hungarian Aquaculture and Fisheries Inter-branch Organisation (MA-HAL) and the Hungarian Fishing Association (MOHOSZ). HAKI operates the editorial office of HALÁSZAT, the oldest professional journal of Hungarian fisheries. For more than 40 years, HAKI has organised the annual National Scientific Conference on Aquaculture and Fisheries to disseminate professional outcomes. HAKI is also actively involved in the implementation of sustainable aquaculture programmes in developing countries.

HAKI is an active, leading member and contributor to the work and programmes of FAO, FEAP, COPA-COGECA, AAC, EIFAAC, EAS, EUROFISH, SCAR-FISH, HUNATIP and NACEE, as a representative of the interests and values of the Central European region and of freshwater aquaculture, especially pond farming. HAKI is present as a collaborating partner in several programmes for the development of freshwater aquaculture in Asia, Africa and Central America.