Fisheries Training Programme

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  • The UNU Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) directly addresses the mission of the UNU to resolve pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare. Fisheries play an important part in the lives of peoples and the economy of nations, not least in developing countries. This includes capture fisheries and aquaculture where they are major provides of animal protein in the diets of peoples and provide a large share of export earnings in many countries. But unsustainable practices threaten the resources and ecosystems and world capture fisheries have not grown during the last decades. Aquaculture has grown rapidly, but there too are concerns of sustainability as the rate of growth has decreased.

    The main activities of UNU-FTP include a six-month postgraduate training programme in Iceland targeting young but experienced fisheries professionals from developing countries. The programme offers specializations in six different fields of fisheries and aquaculture. The training consists of a one-week orientation, a five-week introductory course, a six-week specialist course and an individual research project. Apart from local lecturers, world renowned experts in different fields of fisheries are invited as guest lecturers each year.

    UNU-FTP provides grants to fellows who have completed the six-month training to study for MSc and PhD degrees at Icelandic universities. The studies under the UNU-FTP count for up to one semester of credits towards the degree.  Scholarships for the six-month Fisheries Training Programme are available on a competitive basis for former fellows who wish to engage in further studies in Iceland, provided they have the support of their home institution and their main research is of direct relevance to the fisheries sector in the home country. Field work for research projects, both in MSc and PhD studies, is often done in the home country, with special support from the UNU-FTP.

    Focal Points

    Programme Director Dr. Tumi Tomasson and Deputy Director Thor H. Asgeirsson are focal points.


    The aim is to offer promising fellows the opportunity to engage in further studies and professional development, to further strengthen the capacity of their institutions.


    Research projects address topical issues in the partner country, in cooperation with the home institution.


    Out of nine fellows who have been granted MSc scholarships, three are women. Out of 10 fellows who have been granted PhD scholarships, five are women.

    Target Audience

    This programme targets those fellows who have performed well in the six-month training programme and are determined to pursue a research project that will be of value to their institutions and the fisheries sector in general back in their home countries.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
    Target: This Programme targets former UNU-FTP fellows in partner countries.
    How: Increased capacity will be delivered by training participants to manage and utilize the living aquatic resources of their home countries in a sustainable and responsible manner, based on scientific principles.

    Research Findings

    MSc theses and PhD dissertations are published by the universities and also on the UNU-FTP website. So far, all PhD theses have been based on publications in peer-reviewed journals.

    Policy Bridging

    Over the long run, the MSc and PhD programmes influence fishery policymaking in developing countries as former fellows rise to high-ranking positions within national fisheries institutions and government departments.

    Value Added

    The programme contributes to increased knowledge on the nature and status of fisheries worldwide and research done by UNU scholars suggests ways to improve conservation and sustainable utilization.


    Fellows’ research projects are published on the UNU-FTP website, which is included by all major search engines in fisheries and aquaculture. Several research projects are later published as papers in peer-reviewed journals or presented at conferences and workshops.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    This is an on-going programme. An MSc takes, as a rule, 18-24 months and a PhD about four years.


    The quality of the studies is ensured by the universities where scholarship recipients conduct their studies. The UNU-FTP monitors progress and the relevance of the research.

    Expected Duration

    Program Start: 1 January 2004.

  • UNU Fisheries Training Programme
    Dr. Tumi Tómasson
    Hafrannsóknastofnunin – Marine Research Institute, Skúlagata 4, P.O. Box 1390 121 Reykjavík, Iceland
    T: +354 552-0240
    F: +354 562-3790