Mission, vision and tasks

DTU Aqua conducts research, provides advice, educates at university level and contributes to innovation in sustainable exploitation and management of aquatic resources.

National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua) is an institute at Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Until 2007, the institute was a sector research institute, known as Danish Institute for Fisheries Research (DIFRES), in the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.


DTU Aqua’s mission is to conduct research, provide advice, educate at university level and contribute to innovation in sustainable exploitation and management of aquatic resources. We investigate the biology and population ecology of aquatic organisms, aquatic physical and chemical processes and ecosystem structure and dynamics, taking account of all relevant natural and anthropogenic drivers.


The vision of DTU Aqua is to enable ecologically and economically sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources; applying an integrated ecosystem approach which utilizes synergies in natural and technical science disciplines. This approach covers all aquatic ecosystem components and trophic levels, and natural (e.g. physics and climate) and anthropogenic (e.g. fisheries, pollution, shipping and offshore energy) drivers of change, and integrates modern technologies.

To realize this vision, our research and education must be of the highest international standard and innovative, our advisory services must be relevant, quality assured and practical, and our communication with users and stakeholders must be transparent and comprehensible.


DTU Aqua’s research is divided into the following fields:

  • Aquaculture
  • Coastal ecology
  • Ecosystem based marine management
  • Fish and shellfish diseases
  • Fish biology
  • Fisheries management
  • Fisheries technology
  • Freshwater fisheries and ecology
  • Marine living resources
  • Marine populations and ecosystem dynamics
  • Observation technology
  • Oceanography
  • Population genetics

DTU Aqua deals with all types of aquatic habitats—from the North Atlantic Ocean and European shelf areas to coastal areas and inner Danish waters, ecosystems in lakes and streams as well as aquaculture.

DTU Aqua’s research often involves collaboration with other DTU departments and research environments at other Danish universities as well as a wide range of sister institutes in the EU and worldwide. 

Research based advice and industrial collaboration

DTU Aqua advises the Danish Ministry of Food, Aquaculture and Fishery, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and other public authorities, international commissions, the commercial fisheries and the aquaculture industry as well as other stakeholders.

Public sector consultancy is a key area of activity for the institute. DTU’s contract with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries on scientific advice constitutes, together with a number of contracts with other Danish and international authorities, approx. 50 per cent of DTU Aqua’s funding. The agreements cover research, development and monitoring activities, advisory tasks, and communication.


DTU’s BEng programme Fisheries Technology and the MSc programmes Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture and Ocean Engineering are coordinated by DTU Aqua. 

In addition, DTU Aqua offers DTU courses at all levels as well as BSc and MSc projects.  

Furthermore, DTU Aqua has a PhD school which currently has about 40 students enrolled. 


DTU Aqua has about 360 employees—one half being scientific staff, including about 40 PhD students. The other half consists of assistant biologists, laboratory technicians, administrative staff, ship’s crew, student assistants etc.  

DTU Aqua has employees at DTU's localities in Lyngby, Hirtshals, Silkeborg and Nykøbing Mors and in Sisimiut in Greenland as well as on board the research vessel Dana.  

The institute is organized into 10 scientific sections which carry out the research, educational and advisory activities. In addition, the institute has a number of scientific and administrative support functions, including the research vessel Dana.