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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.

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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 BSc 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.

Aquaculture and Fisheries at Otago

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 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.

You may also be interested in

Background required

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


Aquaculture and Fisheries as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, 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 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


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



 Note: Students majoring in Marine Science will not be permitted to take an Aquaculture and Fisheries minor. 
Total 108

AQFI papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
AQFI251 2024 Principles of Aquaculture 18 Semester 2
AQFI301 2024 Field Methods in Applied Marine Science 18 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period, 4th Non standard period
AQFI352 2024 Fisheries Ecology 18 Semester 1
AQFI421 2024 Advanced Aquaculture and Fisheries 20 Semester 1
AQFI450 2024 Special Topic 20 Not offered in 2024
AQFI490 2024 Dissertation 60 2nd Non standard period

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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