Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Applied Fisheries Ecology

Overall Course Objectives

To provide course participants with an understanding of (1) the current perception of sustainable fisheries and the latest status reports in a global perspective, (2) the role of the biological advice system, with a particular focus on the catch advice produced by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), (3) the data requirements, fundamental concepts, and mathematics of stock assessments and catch predictions, (4) the principles of fisheries management in relation to ecosystem sustainability and biodiversity conservation.

Learning Objectives

  • Outlining the differences between the single-stock approach and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
  • Identifying present and future challenges in the interface between fisheries and biodiversity conservation.
  • Selecting appropriate measures to maintain or restore sustainable long-term exploitation of a given marine ecosystem.
  • Interpreting the content of the advice sheets produced by ICES.
  • Commenting on results from scientific literature within the field.
  • Reflecting critically on the meaning of “sustainability” in fisheries.
  • Writing a programme in the R language to calculate the size of a fish population, reference points, and short-term predictions of catch scenarios.
  • Composing a simple management advice, taking into consideration the needs of the fishery and of the ecosystem

Course Content

Fisheries support many millions of livelihoods, provide food security, and contribute to national economies as well as coastal societies, but fisheries can also impact ecosystems negatively. For instance, fishing activities may disrupt food webs, damage the sea floor, or be responsible for the unintended captures of threatened marine animals. During the past decades, important effort has been made to develop the science and fisheries policies. In this course, we will study how fisheries scientists assess the size of fish stocks to produce stock-by-stock catch advice and how ecosystem considerations currently is moving up on the fisheries management agenda. We will look at concrete examples of fisheries management measures, including quota limits, time/area closures and actual Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The lectures will have a global perspective but will focus more closely on the North-East Atlantic and EU waters. The R programming language, being one of the most often used in ecology and fisheries science, will be used for the analytical parts of the course. The course program consists of (1) four modules covering the global perspective on fisheries, stock-by-stock assessments, and the ICES advice system, (2) four modules with analytical exercises in R, (3) four modules on the ecosystem approach to fisheries management, including a short legislative background and the tools available to managers to ensure fisheries sustainability and biodiversity conservation, and (4) a report assignment with a predefined problem that needs a solution. In order to reflect the newest pioneering research and trends, different researchers from DTU Aqua will be invited to give lectures and we will be discussing recently published scientific literature.

Recommended prerequisites

25318/25345, These are recommendations and not requirements

Teaching Method

Lectures, individual and group assignments (problem solving and analytical exercises in R), and home assignments (e.g. read scientific articles and produce one report on a pre-defined topic/problem).


This course provides students with competences relevant to UN SDGs, particularly #12 (Responsible consumption and production), #13 (Climate action) and #14 (Life below water)

Can be offered with Remote Classroom https:/​/​​english/​education/​courses/​remote-classroom

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Hirtshals Campus

Course code 25349
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Wed 13-17

7.500,00 DKK