UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

2019 IOF begins its own graduate program, welcoming its first cohort of students from within Canada and internationally to continue training the scientists in the tradition of its excellent leadership and research.
2015 The Fisheries Centre becomes the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, with an expanded mandate for collaboration and impact across disciplines and sectors.
2005 The Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL) opens, giving the Fisheries Centre a new 55,000 square-foot home. Built around an atrium that connects the four floors of the building, AERL provides a home for collaboration between natural and social scientists working on scientific, economic, sociological, and environmental aspects of aquatic ecosystems. At the heart of the new facility is an immersion laboratory, offering decision makers an opportunity to visualize the impact of policy decisions in real time using sophisticated computer-generated images of underwater and coastal habitats. The lab is also used for integrating the inputs of sensors tracking electronically tagged marine mammals, and for monitoring BC ecosystems through arrays of sensors. The $8.9-million AERL facility is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and is certified LEED Gold.

Hut B-6, University of British Columbia Archives, UBC 105.1/259

The Fisheries Centre is relocated from UBC’s WWII-era ‘huts’ to the Lower Mall Research Station while a permanent new facility is constructed. The ‘temporary’ huts had housed the Fisheries Centre since its founding in 1993, but the accommodations divided research units amongst different sites and were generally unsatisfactory.

Mid-1990s Linkages are formed across the Pacific between the UBC Fisheries Centre and the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in Manila, Philippines. The partnership leverages the Fisheries Centre’s leadership in Bayesian analysis and adaptive management, and ICLARM’s new integrating method for analyzing ecosystems. These research partnerships produce some of the most important conceptual advances in the history of fisheries science and aquatic ecology.
1993 Professor Tony Pitcher is appointed as the Fisheries Centre’s first director. Coming to UBC from the Marine Resources Assessment Group at Imperial College London, Dr. Pitcher had worked as project manager and researcher in Africa, Sumatra, Thailand, and the Adriatic.
1991 Sparked by a campus-wide debate about research in natural resources, a new Fisheries Centre is established to focus and promote the interdisciplinary study of fisheries. Professors William Neill, Mike Healey, and Carl Walters are absorbed into the new Centre, bringing with them the accumulated ecological wisdom of IARE.
1968 The Institute of Fisheries is renamed the Institute of Animal Resource Ecology (IARE) to reflect its broadening interests. It includes a Co-operative Fisheries Unit that enables a cross-fertilization of ideas between fisheries scientists and other ecologists. Despite strongly influencing its field and providing in-service training for Canadian fisheries agencies, IARE is closed in the 1980s.
1950s The UBC Institute of Fisheries is founded by Dr. Peter Larkin, a respected professor of ecology and British Columbia’s first Chief Fisheries Biologist.

Peter Larkin, University of British Columbia Archives, UBC 18.1/2-1

Dr. Peter Larkin came to UBC campus in 1948 as British Columbia’s first Chief Fisheries Biologist, with a joint appointment in the Department of Ecology, where he established courses on ecology and population dynamics. Except for a four-year appointment as Director of the Government of Canada’s Pacific Biological Station (1963-1966), Dr. Larkin spent the remainder of his career at UBC, eventually becoming head of Zoology, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Vice-President, Research.

In 1952, Dr. Larkin established the BC Fisheries Research Section (a provincial division that became part of the Fisheries Centre) on the UBC campus. The co-location was an innovative liaison between research and management in an academic environment. In 1955, he founded the Institute of Fisheries in the Department of Zoology. He remained a member of the Institute, which later became the IARE, until his retirement in 1989.

After retirement, Dr. Larkin remained active at UBC heading a Royal Society of Canada evaluation unit. He was instrumental in establishing the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium, which is administered by the Marine Mammal Research Unit in the Fisheries Centre.

Various awards and memorabilia in the Larkin Room

Dr. Larkin served on the boards or councils of many prestigious national and international institutions. He received numerous honorary degrees and special awards, including the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, the UBC Science Council Award for Career Achievement, and the Murray A. Newman Award for Conservation. He died in 1996.

The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries hosts the annual Larkin Lecture and has named the Larkin Room in his honour. The room includes a collection of artwork and memorabilia. The Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) has established the Peter A. Larkin Memorial Fund to provide support for students to attend annual AFS meetings.

Full obituary: Northcote, T.D. (1996) Obituary of Peter Anthony Larkin. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 6: 374-377


UBC Fisheries Centre

The Fisheries Centre Research Reports are published results of research work carried out, or workshops held, at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. They focus on multidisciplinary problems, and provide a synoptic overview of the foundations, themes and prospects of current research.

To see the full list of Fisheries Centre Research Reports, click here.