The idea of the establishment of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Central-Eastern Europe (NACEE) emerged during the activity of the Central-Eastern European Committee of the European Aquaculture Society (EAS) in early 2003. The main mandate of the envisaged network was to facilitate that the R&D sphere in Central-Eastern Europe be an integral part of the European Research Area.
After initial evaluation of the needs and possibilities, the idea of NACEE was publicly announced during the International Symposium "Coldwater Aquaculture: Start in the 21 st Century", in St-Petersburg , Russia , on 7-15 September 2003. Aquaculture institutions of five CEE countries (Belarus , Czech Republic , Hungary , Russia and Ukraine) joined the initiative during the conference. This is considered to be the date of launching of NACEE.
In the same period, starting from October 2003, aquaculture-related institutions of the region were informed on NACEE. In one year, by November 2004, twenty-three institutions and organisations have returned the signed "Letters of intent", expressing their wish to join the Network.
The Network was formally founded during the First Meeting of NACEE Directors (Szarvas, Hungary, 21-24 November 2004), when directors and representatives of 23 institutions and organizations from 13 CEE countries signed a formal Founding Document and agreed on the structure and the operational framework of NACEE.
After requesting the establishment of formal relations between the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Central and Eastern Europe (NACEE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), FAO decided to grant NACEE liaison status with the Organization on 7 June 2006.
Although the informal, „club-like” structure of NACEE made it easy to start the network and assured a flexible operation, afrer some time it became a constraint, especially because it effectively blocked the access of NACEE to project consortia and project funds. NACEE could only participate through its members, not on its own, and its contribution was generally limited to dissemination of the project results.
Seeing these limitations, the directors of NACEE institutions agreed to move toward transformation into a registered non-profit organization during the Sixth Meeting of NACEE Directors (Torun, Poland, 15-17 September, 2009). After one year of preparatory work, the Founding General Assembly of the new NACEE Association was held in Szarvas, Hungary, on 2 December 2010, and the association was officially registered on 26 January 2011.
The Network is a voluntary union of Central and Eastern European institutions and professionals active in the field of aquaculture, in which all members retain their full independence. The day-to-day operation of the network is coordinated by the elected Executive Board, which is responsible to the General Assembly.The Board also maintains the secretariat, which is located in Szarvas, Hungary. The operation and finances of NACEE are controlled by the Supervisory Board, while the research agenda of the Association is determined by the Technical Advisory Committee.
All member institutions assign a liaison officer (preferably speaking both English and Russian) who maintains regular contact with the Secreteriat. The language of the communication is English or Russian. Members inform the Secretariat about events, which may count on the interest of other members. The Secretariat then distributes the information among the members of the Network. The Secretariat also disseminates major information from European organisations and institutions, which may be relevant for members of the Network. Regular meetings of the General Assembly are held annually. New members can join the Network with the approval of the General Assembly.
NACEE membership is open to any Central and Eastern European research institute, university, producer association or individual active in the field of fisheries and aquaculture. Currently, the Network consists of 29 institutions and individuals from 9 countries, as follows: