Science - January 27, 2011

Marine experts put their heads together in new knowledge centre

VHL's new knowledge centre Marien will form a bridge between theory and practice. But first VHL needs to find a new associate professor of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Pooling the knowledge on coast and sea management that is already present at Van Hall Larenstein: this is the aim of the new knowledge centre Marien being set up by the Coast and Sea Management programme. Besides the lectureships and the degree programme, it will also include the Marine Policy Centre. Professor Martin Pastoors has great expectations of the project: 'The knowledge centre should provide a bridge between practice and the scientific research. We can carry out projects for clients with students from the programme.'
Before the knowledge centre is up and running a new professorship in Fisheries and Aquaculture needs to be established. A candidate is now being sought for this research post, the third professorship in the Coast and Sea Management programme. Pastoors says that the programme wishes to pay more attention to fisheries. 'By doing this we address the public debate about food supplies and the enormous pressure on ecosystems. Salmon farmed in the sea are fed on wild fish, for example. But perhaps we can come up with an alternative plant-based food source.' Programme director Angelique Kuiper is happy with the creation of the new post too. 'Ours is a dynamic field and there is a lot going on. The management of sea and coast systems is becoming more and more complex in view of the conflicting interests of the many parties involved.'

Recruitment up
The Coast and Sea Management degree programme is doing well, with 144 students. Recruitment is rising. 'We used to get an average of 30 more students each year,' says Kuiper, 'but last year we had 50 more. That is a large number for us.' The programme is becoming increasingly well-known in the field. She guesses that the compulsory internship abroad is part of the attraction too. 'Our students are dotted all around the world, from Alaska to Australia.'