Overall Goal

The Ocean Food Systems Thematic Network focuses on research and teaching centered on the holistic examination of ocean foods value chains in fisheries and aquaculture, the sustainable utilisation of marine resources, and the ecological shifts in marine productivity and/or economic transformations in fisheries markets that we expect due to climate change, technological developments, and shifts in consumer preferences.

We address this goal through an international, interdisciplinary network focused on a comprehensive view of global interactions in evolving Arctic and sub-Arctic fisheries and aquaculture producers and markets. The network is broadly interdisciplinary and international, consisting of natural resource economists, ecologists, risk perception experts, oceanographers, fisheries managers, seafood producers, social scientists, and other individuals with market and regulatory expertise on fisheries.

The network facilitates both horizontal and vertical cooperation in ocean food systems. As such, specific sub-network activities may focus on e.g. a particular set of species, such as Arctic and/or sub-Arctic crabs, or system layers, such as food tourism.

Main Activities


  • Promote student mobility within existing funding-programmes (N2N)
  • Develop joint field schools and masters courses
  • Explore dual and blended degree options


  • Initiate research in the interdisciplinary field of fisheries and aquaculture in the Arctic
  • Open up opportunities for external funding
  • Explore synergies to existing research projects such as Horizon 2020 projects
  • Use the TN to leverage research grants to national and international funding agencies and global philanthropies


  • Build up network of teachers, students and specialists from organizations such as Nordic Council, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), FAO, US Sea Grant, etc.
  • Exchange knowledge and best practice
  • Organize conferences/workshops in the field

Current and Planned Activities 

  • Apply for funding from Danish UArctic call for establishing the new network
  • Research Activities on crab fisheries particularly for questions:
    • (1) using differences in climatic and ecological conditions and fishing pressure to investigate compounding effects on crab stocks
    • (2) investigating changes in regulations and international agreements regarding IUU fishing for crabs
    • (3) understanding the crabs in socio-cultural context, including its use in tourism across regions
  • Student exhange
  • Professional networking (sharing grant opportunities and knowledge exchange, manage email list)
  • Network for Aquaculture Education in the Arctic Funded. UArctic TN proposal funded by the Norwegian government to UiT at NOK 374, 250 (~US$ 39,000, ISK 5.4 million). Two years with start date before November 1, 2020. Lead PI is Professor Helgi Thor Thorarensen, The Norwegian College of Fishery Science , Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics , The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) , Tromsø, NORWAY "with co-PIs, Barry A. Cost​a-Pierce, University of New England and Catherine Chambers, Stefansson Arctic Institute and University Centre of the Westfjords. For more information see here.


  • New paper published on engineering advances for kelp aquaculture in the North - Fredriksson, D., T. Dewhurst, A. Drach, W. Beaver, A. St. Gelais, K. Johndrow and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2020. Hydrodynamic Characteristics of a Full Scale Kelp Model for Aquaculture Applications. Aquacultural Engineering 90: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaeng.2020.102086

Thematic Network cross-links:

UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution

Barry Costa-Pierce, Lead and Catherine Chambers, Vice-Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Ocean Food Systems