Science symposia

Johan Hjort symposium 2019

Challenging the scientific legacy of Johan Hjort: time for a new paradigm in marine research?

12–14 June 2019
Bergen, Norway

In 2019 we celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Johan Hjort (1869–1948), who introduced the fundamental theory for current fisheries science with his concepts of the roles played by strong and weak year classes in population structure and productivity. Since then a wide range of new methods and approaches have emerged to refine Hjort's theory, but today's knowledge of factors regulating stock dynamics, e.g. recruitment and migration dynamics, is still vague and thereby makes stock projections often highly uncertain. Moreover, the urge to broaden the standard routines in stock management to embrace today's holistic views, including ecosystem approaches to fisheries and on-going changes in the marine environment, implies an interdisciplinary co-operation. In order to move forward, the current situation asks for a profound insight in the past and present stage, and a dedicated search for new ideas and scientific framework.

To investigate the history, the present and to explore new directions in a free and creative atmosphere – in the spirit of Hjort – we invite marine researchers and historians of marine science to gather in this Bergen symposium, at the place where Hjort launched his paradigm-changing publication in 1914. 

We argue that by integrating data, information and perspectives, from a range of scientific fields, we will be able to reach a more advanced understanding of marine life as well as the practice of marine science in the past and present. Challenging the scientific legacy of Johan Hjort will be a truly interdisciplinary event, and bring historians together with marine and fisheries scientists.

The majority of the sessions will be set up as plenary sessions, and contain contributions from different bodies of knowledge.

Opening session: “Johan Hjort (1914): a Classic to Honour and Challenge"

This session will introduce the aims and ambitions for this symposium, but also to remember, examine and challenge the classics in marine research, with a particular focus on Hjort 1914.

Opening keynote speaker:

  • Professor Ray Hilborn, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

​Other keynote speakers:

  • Head of Research Group, Akonori Taksuka, National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Yokohama, Japan
  • Senior Research Scientist, Karen Evans, CSIRO, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (tunas)
  • Director/Research Scientist, Robert L. Stephenson, DFO, St Andrews Biological Station, Canada (herring)
  • Science Leader/Principal Scientist Timothy M. Ward, SARDI, Henley Beach, Adelaide, Australia (“small pelagics”)
  • Principal Scientist Svein Sundby, IMR, Bergen, Norway (the recruitment enigma)
View more information about the programme


Hotel Scandic Bergen City, Håkonsgaten 2-7, Bergen, Norway

Bookings can be made either at Scandic Bergen City or Scandic Byparken for the period of 11 – 15 June 2019.
When making room reservations, please use the following code: BHAV120619

Registration and abstract submission
Final registration and abstract submission on 15 April 2019 

Publication plan 
Contributions are to be published in ICES Journal of Marine Science. Manuscripts can be submitted until three months after the conference, the final deadline is 14 September 2019

Registration fee 
General feel: NOK 4000
Student and Early Career Scientists: NOK 2000 

The fee includes welcome reception with canapés on Tuesday 11 June, hot lunches and coffee breaks (with cakes/fruit) during the symposium, refreshment at poster session, a marine scientific walk in Bergen, tickets with Fløibanen (the funicular), conference dinner at Fløien Restaurant, a complimentary bag including the Book of abstracts, and a visit to IMR's research vessel Johan Hjort with snack provided onboard.

Support to graduate students and early-career scientists
ICES and ICHO co-sponsorship includes financial support (in addition to the already lowered registration fee). This grant can be used to cover up to five nights at Hotel Scandic Bergen. 

A short application including a few words about the applicant and the abstract should be sent by e-mail to co-convener Olav Sigurd Kjesbu no later than 1 March 2019.

A number of rooms are reserved at Hotel Scandic Bergen City, Bergen: double rooms can be shared by two persons for the same price as a single room, currently 1260 NOK per night. Breakfast is included. Go to the hotel website to make your booking.

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Olav Sigurd Kjesbu, IMR, Norway
Vera Schwach, NIFU, Norway
Jennifer Hubbard , Ryerson University, Canada
Iain Suthers, UNSW, Australia

Scientific Steering Committee:
Gregory Ferguson-Cradler, University of Bergen, Norway
Bronwyn May Gillanders, University of Adelaide, Australia
Brian R. MacKenzie , DTU Aqua, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tom J. Miller, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland, Solomons, USA
Helen Rozwadowski, University of Connecticut, Groton, USA

Local organizing committee:
Olav Sigurd Kjesbu and Vera Schwach, Institute of​ Marine Research (IMR)

Gunnar Sætra, Andreas Angermann; Kathrin Gjerdevik, Monica M. Tolleshaug, Thassya C.dos Santos Schmidt, Matina Stiasny, Maik Tiedemann​, and Kari Østervold Toft; and Anne Karin Hufthammer, University of Bergen


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Johan Hjort symposium 2019

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