Aquatic ecosystems are subject to constant change due to construction projects, land use planning, pollutant inputs or fishing. Fish and fish communities are also affected by these changes and are influenced depending on their utilisation requirements in the affected areas. In order to record these changes, the IfAÖ investigates selected ecological parameters of fish communities using all common fishing methods. For this purpose, we have at our disposal electrofishing gear, bottom-set nets, hauling seines, purse seines, sinkers, cast nets, bongo nets, longlines, Hams, pelagic and bottom trawls, beam trawls as well as fish traps (for more information, see equipment and work boat). With our specialised and trained team of biologists, we carry out sampling and analysis directly on site or in our own laboratory. As a result, we derive trends and ecological risks and evaluate them according to the given questions (e.g. FFH, WFD, MSFD).

Our areas of operation range from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to flowing and still waters and even very small bodies of water. For these assignments, we use our own comprehensive logistics (cars, transporters, work boats, aluminium and inflatable boats, mobile laboratory) or work together with our long-term ship charter partners.

Key services

  • Inventory and assessment of fish communities in the North- and Baltic Sea
  • Identification of fish community structures, depending on prevailing biotic (food web) and abiotic factors (hydrography, habitats)
  • Inventory and assessment of fish communities in limnic systems (EU-WRRL)
  • Special assesments and planning as well as efficiency controls for fish passage in German river systems with reference to the EU-WRRL
  • Description of seasonal and interannual changes of different fish species in relation to environmental influences and anthropogenic impacts
  • Description and assessment of fishing activities in aquatic ecosystems, especially in the context of multiple uses of marine spaces by offshore wind turbines, cable routes, military training areas, gravel mining, protected areas or shipping traffic


Linda Köhler
Head of Department

T +49 38204 618-34
E l.koehler(at)ifaoe.de