Ecosystem and Fisheries Assessment Models

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim is to give an introduction to the basic principles of modelling natural fish populations and ecological communities to assist in solving management related questions. The most important population dynamic processes, such as growth, mortality and recruitment will be outlined, and how these interact among coexisting species in an ecosystem. The mathematical descriptions (models) and practical methods for parameter estimation and model fitting to data will be presented and discussed. In addition will the standard fish stock assessment models for abundance and yield estimation, and their underlying assumptions, be explained. Emphasis will be on a practical approach to the subject in form of exercises and applications, and how the results are used in fisheries management.

Learning Outcomes

The course provides a general introduction to the theory of fish population dynamics. Age, growth, natural and fishing mortality, maturation and recruitment concepts will be introduced together with mathematical tools for describing these processes. Classical fisheries stock assessment models for estimating yield and biological reference points for management purposes will be covered. Uncertainties in parameter estimation and critical evaluation of model assumptions will be emphasized. Both age based and length based approaches to individual models will be introduced. Effects of ecological factors together with fishery impact on biology, age at maturation, survival, growth and demography of populations will be discussed in order to link the student's ecological understanding to their theoretical tools.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 2 for the spring semester. Please see this page for more information. You will receive confirmation of whether you received a seat in Studentweb no later than Monday the week after the deadline.

It is compulsory to attend the first lecture/orientation meeting, or you risk losing your seat. If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must contact the Study Section ( The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on Mitt UiB.

Required Previous Knowledge
Compulsory courses in the Bachelor's programme in Biology or the Bachelor's programme in Sustainable Aquaculture (discontinued programme).
Recommended Previous Knowledge
BIO325 Ocean Science (20 ECTS) or MAR230/BIO240 (discontinued courses).
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Calculation exercises and other assignments.
  • Approved compulsory activites are valid for 3 semesters, including the semester of completion. All compulsory activities have to be approved in order for the student to take the exam.

    Forms of Assessment
  • Oral exam, which accounts for 80% of total grade.
  • Assignments, which account for 20% of total grade.
  • Grading Scale
    The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade, grade F is a fail.
    Course Evaluation
    Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the Department. You can find courseevaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.