Fisheries Society of the British Isles

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Ecosystems have played a crucial role in the functioning of the Blue Planet through the linking of the abiotic and biotic components with nutrient cycles and energy flows.

While the importance of ecosystem interactions is increasingly acknowledged, freshwater and marine ecosystems remain unfortunately understudied. The role of fish in the natural environment, acknowledged for long but not always properly understood, receives a reappraisal through the consequences of regime shifts, the role of microbiomes, the influence of pathogens and symbionts on meta-communities, the evolution of ecosystems and the role of biota in global functioning. Adapted techniques such as microchemistry, –omics, modeling, data analysis and data management have given ecosystem research and the role of fish a new impetus.

It is time to bring the scientific community together for a state-of-the-art meeting. In addition humans have a large impact on the functioning of ecosystems, so much that the proper functioning of ecosystems is changing fast, probably too fast. Fish and fisheries biologists increasingly collaborate with social scientists and society towards a sustainable and equitable use of the living natural resources.

The 2021 Annual Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles focuses on the functional role of fish and fisheries in aquatic ecosystems, at a time when the impact of man has never been so extensive. Topics range from the fundamental to the applied, from a small to a large scale, from the past to the future, provided that fish and fisheries take a prime role.

Symposium Sessions

Ecosystems, communities and fish

This session focuses on the diversity of biological organisms, communities and ecosystems, which are indisputably the cornerstone of life on Earth. The global inventory of more than 34,000 fish species and innumerable populations is in itself a standing testimony of their significance.

Ecosystems and dynamics of fish communities

Fish play largely a top down role in the world’s aquatic ecosystems. Although documented to some extent in the northern hemisphere, their population, trophic and interspecific dynamics remain understudied. This session will explore the research that has gone into expanding our knowledge in these areas.

Ecosystems and global change

The Blue Planet is increasingly confronted with accelerating rates of change. This session focusses on the fish populations, communities and ecosystems that are forced to adapt, migrate or in the worst case vanish.

Ecosystem modelling of fish and fisheries

This session looks to display and discuss the impressive progress in monitoring, databases, statistics, modeling, computational resources and biological knowledge that has steadily improved hindcast and forecast models, either partial or end-to-end. The modeled output of which is increasingly acknowledged by decision  makers.

Ecosystems as a resource

Humans are exploiting the huge resource of fish for food security, delicacy, biomolecules, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, leisure and well-being in almost every ecosystem. This session will look further into sustainable exploitation from an ecosystem perspective.

Ecosystems, fish and fisheries in policy and governance

The translation of a dynamic ecosystem perspective on fish and fisheries gradually winds its way to policy and governance, and should provide guidance to stakeholders. This session aims to provide a platform for the sharing of concepts and good practices, which represents a useful conduit for societal uptake.

Timeline to FSBI Symposium 2021

8th October 2020

1st Febuary 2021

5th April 2021

15th April 2021

Early Bird Registration and Abstract Submission Opens

 Abstract Submission Deadline

Notification Letters

Early Bird Registration Deadline

23rd April 2021

28th June 2021

5th July 2021

7th July 2021

Presenting Author Deadline

End of Registration Period

Submission of Manuscript

FSBI Annual General Meeting

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Daniel Pauly

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Dr Mark Dickey-Collas

Chair of the Advisory Committee, ICES

Dr Brian Hayden

 Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory, University of New Brunswick

Prof. Martine Maan

Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences
martine maan
Pierre Gagnaire

Dr Pierre-Alexandre Gagnaire

Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution Montpellier (ISEM)
Ruth Thurstan
Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Exeter University

The 2021 FSBI symposium is proudly hosted by

For all conference enquiries, please contact

Steeped In History

A Cultural Hub

A Scenic City

Symposium Accommodation in Leuven

Block reservations have been made in several hotels of variable pricing and comfort level, all located in the city center of Leuven and within walking distance from the conference site. Participants are requested to make their own reservations either through the RoomTrust on behalf of FSBI2021 or directly with the Irish College, other hotels, hostels and B&Bs. We are negotiating limited student accommodation.

We strongly recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible as July is a very busy month in Leuven.

The button below will take you to the accommodation booking site for the 4-10th of July 2021, please book asap!


Or click here to contact RoomTrust

Symposium Social Events

The Welcome reception takes place in the Old Town Hall of Leuven.

The symposium dinner takes place within the Great Beguinage, a UNESCO world heritage site.


Scientific Advisory Committee:


Dominique Adriaens (BE, Ghent University)
Dorte Bekkevold (DK, DTU Aqua)
Ilaria Coscia (UK, University of Salford)
Agnès Dettaï (FR, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle)
Nikol Kmentova (BE, Univ. Hasselt & CZ, Masaryk University)
Eric Parmentier (BE, University of Liège)
Hans Polet (BE, Flanders Research Institute of Agriculture, fisheries and food)
Jos Snoeks (BE, Royal Museum for Central Africa & BE, KU Leuven)
Filip Volckaert (BE, KU Leuven)

Local Organising Committee:

Filip Volckaert (Chair)
Dominique Adriaens
Ilaria Coscia
Eric Parmentier
Hans Polet
Jos Snoeks

For all conference enquiries, please contact

Travel Information

By train, plane or car our main venue, The Irish College, is an easily accessible area. Below we detail some of the travel information you may need!

Recommendations for Eco-Friendly Travel

Below is a map of recommended travel depending on your distance from Leuven.

Attendees travelling from the green zones are advised to use train services.

Plane travel is advised to any attendees from outside of the green zones or from cities, or areas outward of, with plane icons.