Conflict Resolution in Ocean Management

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General information

This course is part of the current curriculum of the master program in Coastal and Marine Management at the University Centre of the Westfjords. It is open for external participants, who must, however, fulfill the program's admission requirements and be approved by the master's program committee (for more information, see the program prerequisites). 

Oceans cover more than seventy percent of the surface of the Earth and contain both valuable renewable resources, such as fish and whales, and nonrenewable resources such as oil and gas. This mixture of resources and increased diversification of ocean uses is a challenge to governance. The mobility of many ocean resources and frequent lack of information about location and value of resources increases this challenge. This course will focus on the challenges of governing and sharing such vast, rich and complicated areas and the pressures on local, national, regional and international governance structures to develop policies to react to the collapse of fisheries, increased offshore oil and gas drilling and govern emerging uses such as aquaculture and off-shore wind farms.

Instructor: Professor Ásgeirsdóttir, is an associate professor of Politics at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, as well as the chair of the department.

Learning outcome:

At the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand management at different levels (coastal, off-shore, high-seas).
  • Understand the trade-off between top-down and bottom-up management.
  • Be able to analyze problems facing resources.
  • Be able to identify how different situation. 
  • Be able to understand how stock-by-stock management solves problems differently from ecosystem-based management.
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Venue: University Centre of the Westfjords
Ísafjörður, Iceland



Participation costs 10.000 ISK per one ECTS unit. Registered students at the University of Iceland only pay a low fee, 5.500 ISK for up to two courses and 11.000 ISK for up to five courses, according to a contract between the University of Akureyri and the University of Iceland. Students at UA pay no fee since the courses are a part of the UA curriculum. 


The prerequisite for admission to the program is completion of an undergraduate university degree; it is irrelevant whether this is a BA, BS or BEd. 

English ability

Applicants must have a good command of English, as all instruction takes place in English. It is assumed that applicants from Iceland, the Scandinavian countries, English-speaking countries, and from universities where all teaching takes place in English will have satisfactory English skills and knowledge. Other applicants must demonstrate that their English ability is sufficient by submitting TOEFL scores or results from other equivalent tests.

Application Procedure:

Please apply by filling out the word format application form and sending it as an attachment to The registration deadline for each course is one month before the course starts.


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning


Students will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Participation 10%
  • In-Class Presentation (one per student): 10% - students will work in pairs on questions
  • The final project will be a simulation exercise of the conflict over mackerel in the North Atlantic where students will represent different states in the conflict: 20%
  • Two short writing assignments (about three pages, one each week): 20% each
  • Final reflection on simulation exercise (about 4 pages): 20%

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