Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Marine Environment

Modern fisheries management is based on accurate and complete information about fish stocks and their place in the ecosystem, a thorough knowledge of the efficiency and the effects of fishing techniques and the socio-economic aspects of the fisheries industry. ILVO provides this information to the relevant governmental authorities. ILVO supports and advises the fisheries industry and sales in their pursuit of sustainable fishing. A multidisciplinary scientific team works together with an experienced fisheries technology team to combine a extensive scientific network with field work on land and sea. In addition to the sea fisheries research, ILVO continues to expand its research on sustainable aquaculture methods. Beside this research, we also provide services to support businesses, governments and other scientific institutes in their research.

Animal trials consistent with ethics code


This research group is specialised in the biology of marine culture species, the structural and nutritional requirements for the culture and the optimisation of culture techniques, including infrastructure, improved feed conversion, feed composition, water purification, waste treatment and polyculture systems, etc.
The research rooms are equipped with various tanks and recirculation systems and fresh seawater is available on a continuous base.

Mussel cage SDVO

Contact person

Daan Delbare

More about aquaculture

Fisheries Biology

This research group specialises in collecting both biological and ecosystem data with the objective to provide biological advice for the European Common Fisheries Policy. The focus is on the Belgian fisheries and its fished species and areas. In addition, attention is paid to the impact on both quota and non-quota fish species by using alternative fishing techniques.


Contact person

Els Torreele

More about fisheries biology

Design and Performance of Fishing Gear

Design and evaluation of fishing gear, including model experiments, prototype sea trials and catch analyses, underwater video recordings, traction measurements and acoustic recordings.


Sustainability Review

Based on an internationally accepted methodology, a sustainability score can be calculated for every fish that is sold in stores.

Sustainability review

Communication and Innovation for a Sustainable Sea Fisheries Industry (CIVIS)

The main objective of the CIVIS project is to enhance the sustainability of sea fisheries. This is done through intensive communication, promoting innovation and raising awareness within the sector about the importance of a "healthy sea". The project is an initiative of the Rederscentrale (group of ship-owners) and ILVO. CIVIS aims to respond to future challenges.

Communication and Innovation for a Sustainable Sea Fisheries Industry (CIVIS)

Test Installations for Marine Experiments

At ILVO, various recirculation systems are available in which exposure experiments (contaminants or other stressors), feeding trials, survival tests, and trawl tests can be done, or in which innovative aquaculture designs and techniques (e.g. sanitation) can be evaluated.

Contact persons

Daan Delbare (aquaculture facilities), Johan Robbens (chemical exposure tests), Kris Hostens (exposure testing for non-chemical stressors), Hans Polet (technical fisheries installations)

Scientific Diving

ILVO has an experienced and dynamic team of divers trained in techniques for scientific diving activities. This team receives regular advanced training according to the regulations of the Belgian Working Group on Scientific Diving (BWGSD).

ILVO's scientific diving team