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Study Aquaculture and Fisheries at Otago

Supporting the blue economy.

To fulfil the needs of a growing human population the production of food and other products from marine and freshwater environments must increase sustainably. Declines in wild fisheries and the growth in the aquaculture sector mean that now more than half of all seafood consumed throughout the world comes from aquaculture.

The sustainable growth of aquaculture and the restoration of wild fisheries are two of the greatest challenges facing the planet – many of the solutions will be provided by scientists.

Why study Aquaculture and Fisheries?

Fisheries and aquaculture are very important to New Zealanders because of the importance of the freshwater and marine environments for our culture, food and trade. Management of wild fisheries and aquaculture is connected – both require science to innovate and ensure sustainable practice.

Understanding environmental impacts, reducing waste, enhancing production and ensuring the highest value for the products we produce are all challenges that will be met through the application of science across a range of disciplines.

Career opportunities

With a BAppSc in Aquaculture and Fisheries you’ll be well placed to work in a variety of positions within New Zealand and internationally. The companies who produce, catch and process the fish we eat or export provide opportunities for researchers to be involved from production and harvest through to processing and marketing.

The aquaculture industry is expanding and the challenge of feeding the planet in a changing world will be met through innovation and the work of the next generation of scientists.

You could work for government departments or join the science teams of local councils, iwi organisations or business – managing fish stocks and aquaculture operations and protecting the ecosystems and environment that support them.

If you wish to stay in the university system and learn more about new models of aquaculture and fisheries science, environment management, product development and food science, you could complete an MSc or PhD – opening up wider job opportunities in scientist or management positions in a range of organisations.

Background required

Secondary school students are recommended to take Biology, Chemistry, and Maths in Year 12 and preferably in Year 13.

What will I learn?

Fisheries and aquaculture scientists and managers need to have a good understanding of biology, ecology, oceanography, chemistry, statistics, and management.

You will learn the fundamental aspects of these subjects during the first two years of the degree.

As you progress through the degree, more specialist subjects such as fisheries, aquaculture, environmental and ecosystem management, and food science will be introduced.

What is the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc)?

The strength of the Applied Science programme is its outward focus – developing graduates with wide-ranging skills and practical experience in the workplace. The Applied Science programme is a three-year undergraduate degree with open entry at 100-level.

An Honours year is offered to those students who achieve an appropriate academic standard. This will be offered at the end of the undergraduate degree.

Every Applied Science degree has a compulsory minor or second major, in a subject area that’s directly relevant and will deliver complementary skills. The programme encourages real-world business awareness, enabling you to apply what you have learned to any organisation you work for.

What will I study?

First year

You will study fundamental sciences including biology, chemistry, earth and ocean science, and statistics, as well as pursuing a relevant second discipline such as management, genetics, food science, or te reo Māori.

Second year

In this year you will start to apply your science knowledge to the marine environment with courses in aquaculture, marine science, and ecology as well as food science.

Third year

You will study fishery sciences, as well as further exploring the marine environment and chemistry. You will apply your skills on real-world issues in field-based courses. Your compulsory minor or second major will tailor your course to your own particular interests.

How will I study?

You will learn the theoretical aspects of the above topics in lectures.

In addition, for all of the science courses, practical and hands-on experience will be gained in the University’s well-equipped laboratories (including the Portobello Marine Laboratory), field stations, and boats.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:

* It is a requirement that every Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) normally includes an approved minor subject or an approved second major subject. Usually such a minor or second major subject must be selected from the approved combinations of major subjects with minor or second major subjects. Some exceptions may apply. For details see:

Full list of available approved minor and second major subject areas

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Aquaculture and Fisheries

Year Papers Points

BIOL 112  Animal Biology

MARI 112  Global Marine Systems

STAT 110  Statistical Methods or STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

Three of:
BIOL 123  Plants: How They Shape the World
CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology
CHEM 111  Chemistry: Molecular Architecture
CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health
EAOS 111  Earth and Ocean Science
ECOL 111  Ecology and Conservation of Diversity






MARI 202  Marine Invertebrate Ecology and Biology

AQFI 251 Principles of Aquaculture

Two of BTNY 203, CHEM 201, CHEM 205, CHEM 206, ECOL 211, ECOL 212, FOSC 201, FORS 201, GENE 222, GENE 223, MARI 201, PHIL 235, STAT 210, SURV 208, ZOOL 221





AQFI 301 Field Methods for Assessment of Fisheries and Aquatic Habitats

AQFI 352 Fisheries Ecology

Two of CHEM 301, CHEM 306, FORS 301, GENE 312, GENE 314, GENE 315, MARI 301, MARI 302, ZOOL 316, ZOOL 319





108 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers


Total   360

Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Aquaculture and Fisheries

  • MARI 401  Advanced Methods in Marine Science

  • AQFI 421  Advanced Aquaculture and Fisheries

  • AQFI 490  Dissertation

  • One further 400-level AQFI, MARI or OCEN paper
  • With approval from the Head of Department, one MARI 400-level paper may be replaced with a 400-level paper from another relevant subject.

Minor subject requirements

Aquaculture and Fisheries as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Students taking the BSc in Marine Science will not be permitted to take an Aquaculture and Fisheries minor.

Level Papers Points

MARI 112 Global Marine Systems

STAT 110 Statistical Methods, or STAT 115 Introduction to Biostatistics




MARI 202 Marine Invertebrate Ecology and Biology

AQFI 251 Principles of Aquaculture




AQFI 301 Field Methods for Assessment of Fisheries and Aquatic Habitats

AQFI 352 Fisheries Ecology



Total   108


Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
AQFI251 2023 Principles of Aquaculture 18 points Semester 2
AQFI301 2023 Field Methods in Applied Marine Science 18 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 4th Non standard period
AQFI352 2023 Fisheries Ecology 18 points Semester 1
AQFI421 2023 Advanced Aquaculture and Fisheries 20 points 1st Non standard period
AQFI450 2023 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2023
AQFI490 2023 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 2nd Non standard period

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