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Stock monitoring and responsible harvesting (Stock monitoring and responsible harvesting )

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Tijdsduur 1 semesters
Cost 590 NOK

Teaching semester


Attendance at orientation meeting/first lecture is compulsory. If you do not attend, you risk losing your spot. If you are unable to attend due to a justified reason, contact the Study Section at studie@bio.uib.no.

The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on the Mitt UiB learning platform.

This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 2 for the spring semester. Please see this page for more information.

You will receive confirmation of whether you received a spot in Studentweb no later than Tuesday the week after the deadline.

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The course aims to provide a fundamental introduction to how we monitor fish stocks, both by fisheries dependent and fisheries independent methods. A focus will be to provide the students with a comprehensive understanding of how acoustic and capture- based fisheries independent monitoring methods are applied to support sustainable fisheries.

Age-structured stock assessment models are an essential scientific basis for responsible harvesting, and the course will give an overview of survey design and methods providing abundance indices by age in acoustic ¿ and trawl surveys. FAO¿s classification system of gear types, and the requirements for a responsible, sustainable resource- and environment-friendly fishery, will be presented. The construction and function of different gear types, and the biological capture characteristics of these will be described. The importance of different fish behaviour and reaction towards gear stimuli will be emphasized, and how this affects catchability and selectivity. Selection attributes in different gear types and estimation of gear selectivity probabilities will be covered. The lectures will also introduce physical and biological principles for hydro-acoustic detection and measurement of marine organisms, with focus on abundance estimation of fish and plankton. The course will include practical assignments on the function and operation of scientific echo sounders, echo integrators and sonars. Finally, the course will introduce new technological developments in the field of hydro-acoustics, gear types, and optical tools, and how these will provide new possibilities to observe and understand aquatic ecosystems under change.

The results of the course assignments shall be presented orally and in writing.

Students in the Master's Programme in Biology, specialisation Fisheries Biology and Management (compulsory course), and specialisation Marine Biology (elective course), will be prioritised.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


Upon completion of the course, the student can

  • Explain main principles of monitoring harvested stocks (fisheries-dependent and -independent methods)
  • Clarify statistical advantages and limitations of different sampling designs (transect vs random)
  • Describe main principles of underwater acoustics monitoring and the acoustic back-scattering properties of fish and other aquatic organisms
  • Formulate the assumptions of echo counting and echo integration
  • Summarize the main biases and limitations of acoustic surveys
  • Compare typical designs, characteristics and functions of different fishing gears used globally, and how the use of these affect organisms and environments
  • Describe how fish behaviour is influenced by different types of fishing gear, and how the surroundings can affect the behaviour and catch efficiency
  • Evaluate which fishing gear attributes affect catchability and species- and size-selection of the different gear types


Upon completion of the course, the student can

  • Construct a scientifically based survey design
  • Collate survey data to calculate abundance indices per age in acoustic and trawl surveys
  • Identify and estimate target strength of individual targets from acoustic measurements and instruments
  • Perform acoustic abundance estimation of different species in an area based on echo-integration
  • Use data from acoustic measurements and instruments to estimate position, swimming speed and direction of single targets
  • Master methods for quantification of selection curves in nets and trawls

General competence

Upon completion of the course, the student can

  • Communicate subject matter orally and in writing both in an academic and popular scientific manner
  • Find, compile and evaluate fisheries relevant literature
  • Understand and discuss the relevance of fisheries in society

Required Previous Knowledge

BIO325 Ocean Science or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

BIO280 Fish Biology I - Systematics and Anatomy or equivalent.

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a Master/PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Read more here.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures: 2 hours per week for 12 weeks.
Course assignments/seminars 6 hours per week, for 4 weeks.
Excursion to gear manufacture/cruise: 2 days.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Course assignments.
  • Attendance at seminars.

Approved compulsory activities are valid for 5 semesters, including the semester of completion. Compulsory activities have to be passed in order to take the exam.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

  • Oral exam, 75 % of total grade.
  • Compulsory assignments, 25 % of total grade.

Due to the measures taken to avoid the spread of SARS-CoV-2, UiB is closed for teaching and assessment. As a consequence, the following changes is made to assessment spring semester 2020:

  • Grading scale ¿Pass/Fail¿ instead of ¿A-F¿

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade, grade F is a fail.

Subject Overlap

5 ECTS overlap with BIO336 Fish Capture and Monitoring and 5 ECTS overlap with BIO333 Acoustic Methods in Fisheries and Marine Biology (discontinued courses).

Assessment Semester

Assessment only in semesters with teaching.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the Department. You can find course evaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.

Programme Committee

The programme committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Structurele componenten
Ship training
Practical/Field work

ISCED Categories