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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 (5th-8th July) 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.

The symposium will be organized virtually in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. An adapted program with real time and preregistered presentations, award ceremonies, break-out rooms, meet the speaker, FSBI Annual General Meeting, poster sessions and informal meetings will be organized. The organisers will do their utmost best to make the meeting as inclusive and personal as possible. Special attention will be paid to junior and disadvantaged researchers. The registration process for the oral and poster presentations proceeds as scheduled in format and timing.

Presenters of an oral presentation are invited to submit a manuscript to the Special Issue of the Journal of Fish Biology

Special issue editors Ilaria Coscia, Kris Hostens and Filip Volckaert look forward to either your full paper, brief communication, review or opinion by the start of the symposium on 5 July 2021.

Monday 5th July

  • Free Platform Viewing

  • FSBI 2021 Welcome Ceremony

  • 2020 Medal Winners Live Q & A

  • An introduction to KU Leuven

  • An introduction to Fishbase

  • Networking room 1 via Zoom: meet the medals (tbc) and/or The Pub Cafe Allee

Tuesday 6th July

  • Free platform viewing

  • Martine Maan - Ecology and evolution of cichlid fish diversity

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystems, communities and fish - 16 presenters

  • Coffee Break

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystems, communities and fish- 17 presenters

  • Pierre-Alexandre Gagnaire - Hidden layers of genetic diversity in marine fishes from the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterrean ecosystems

  • Coffee Break

  • Coffee Break

  • Discussion room: highs and lows of the movie Seaspiracy and/or Discussion room: Communicating of fishy matters

  • Networking Rooms

  • Networking rooms and/or The Pub Kaminsky

Wednesday 7th July

  • Free Platform Viewing and FSBI AGM from 12:00

  • Ruth Thurstan - Blast from the past: Understanding historical change in marine social-ecological systems

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystem modelling of fish and fisheries

  • Poster presentations - 10 presenters

  • Brian Hayden - Life under lake ice: How winter affects the ecology, biology and evolution of freshwater fishes

  • Coffee Break

  • Medal Winners 2021 Live Q & A

  • Coffee Break

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystems and global change- 16 presenters

  • Networking rooms and/or The Pub Bar Vista

Thursday 8th July

  • Free Platform Viewing

  • Daniel Pauly - The need for synthetic studies in ichthyology, or putting Humpty Dumpty together again

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystems as a resource - 16 presenters

  • Coffee Break

  • Mark Dickey-Collas - the Ecosystem Based Management Pilgrimage

  • Oral presentations: Ecosystems, fish and fisheries in policy and governance - 8 presenters

  • Coffee Break

  • Closing Ceremony FSBI 2021 / Introduction FSBI 2022 + Award for best oral and poster presentation

  • Networking room and/or The Pub Louvain Louvain

Keynote Speakers

Dr 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 set up by

For all conference enquiries, please contact FSBI2021@kuleuven.be

Sponsored By

The Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) stimulates and financially supports fundamental scientific research, strategic basic research, clinical scientific research, the purchase of large-scale and medium-scale research infrastructure, and the management of large computing capacity in Flanders.

The purpose of the Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.–FNRS) is to develop fundamental scientific research within the framework of initiatives presented by researchers. It encourages the production and development of knowledge by both supporting individual researchers, and also by financing research programmes conducted in the laboratories and facilities mostly located in the universities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Steeped In History

A Cultural Hub

A Scenic City


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

Thank you to Pim Niesten for helping with the SeaSpiracy workshop and to Sander van der Kloot for editing all the symposium recordings.

For all conference enquiries, please contact FSBI2021@kuleuven.be