Fisheries science

Fisheries science is the academic discipline of managing and understanding fisheries. It is a multidisciplinary science, which draws on the disciplines of limnology, oceanography, freshwater biology, marine biology, conservation, ecology, population dynamics, economics and management to attempt to provide an integrated picture of fisheries. In some cases new disciplines have emerged, as in the case of bioeconomics and fisheries law.

Fisheries science is typically taught in a university setting, and can be the focus of an undergraduate, master's or Ph.D. program. Some universities offer fully integrated programs in fisheries science.

DANA 2004 ubt.jpeg
The 78-metre (256-foot) Danish fisheries research vessel Dana.

Fisheries research

Fisheries research vessels (FRVs) require platforms which are capable of towing different types of fishing nets, collecting plankton or water samples from a range of depths, and carrying acoustic fish-finding equipment. Fisheries research vessels are often designed and built along the same lines as a large fishing vessel, but with space given over to laboratories and equipment storage, as opposed to storage of the catch.

Notable contributors

Members of this list meet one or more of the following criteria: 1) Author of widely cited peer-reviewed articles on fisheries, 2) Author of major reference work in fisheries, 3) Founder of major fisheries journal, museum or other related organisation 4) Person most notable for other reasons who has also worked in fisheries science.

Contributor Nationality Born Died Contribution
Baird, Spencer F American 1823 1887 Founding scientist of the United States Fish Commission
Baranov, Fedor I Russian 1886 1965 Baranov has been called the grandfather of fisheries population dynamics. The Baranov catch equation of 1918 is perhaps the most used equation in fisheries modelling.[1]
Beverton, Ray English 1922 1985 Fisheries biologist known for the Beverton–Holt model (with Sidney Holt), credited with being one of the founders of fisheries science
Christensen, Villy Danish - Fisheries scientist and ecosystem modeller, known for his work on the development of Ecopath
Cobb, John N American 1868 1930 Founder of the first college of fisheries in the United States, the University of Washington College of Fisheries, in 1919
Cooke, Steven J Canadian 1974 Academic known for contributions to recreational fisheries science, inland fisheries and Conservation Physiology
Cushing, David English 1920 2008 Fisheries biologist, who is credited with the development of the match/mismatch hypothesis
Everhart, W Harry American 1918 1994 Fisheries scientist, educator, administrator and author of several widely used fisheries texts
Froese, Rainer German 1950 - Known for his work on the development and coordination of FishBase
Graham, Michael English 1889 1972 Known for his Great Law of Fishing, that “Fisheries that are unlimited become unprofitable.”
Green, Seth American 1817 1888 Pioneer in fish farming who established the first fish hatchery in the United States
Gunter, Gordon American 1909 1998 Pioneer in fisheries research in the northern Gulf of Mexico
Halver, John American 1922 2012 His pioneering work on the nutritional needs of fish led to modern methods of fish farming and fish feed production. He has been called the father of fish nutrition.[2][3]
Hempel, Gotthilf German 1929 - Marine biologist and oceanographer, and co-founder of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Herwig, Walther German 1838 1912 Lawyer and promoter of high seas fishing and research
Hilborn, Ray Canadian 1947 - Fisheries biologist with strong contributions in fisheries management
Hjort, Johan Norwegian 1869 1948 Fisheries biologist, marine zoologist and oceanographer
Hofer, Bruno German 1861 1916 Fishery scientist credited with being the founder of fish pathology
Holt, Sidney English 1926 - Fisheries biologist known for the Beverton–Holt model (with Ray Beverton), credited with being one of the founders of fisheries science
Kils, Uwe German - Marine biologist specializing in planktology. Inventor of the ecoSCOPE
Kyle, H. M. Scottish 1872 1951 Ichthyologist specializing in Fisheries science and one of the earliest identifiers of the concept of overfishing[4]
Lackey, Robert T Canadian 1944 - Fisheries scientist and political scientist known for his work involving the role of science in policy making
Larkin, Peter A Canadian 1924 1996 Fisheries scientist known for his critical remarks on the concept of MSY
Margolis, Leo Canadian 1927 1997 Parasitologist and head of the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia
McKay, R J Australian Biologist and a specialist in translocated freshwater fishes
Myers, Ransom A Canadian 1952 2007 Marine biologist and conservationist
Pauly, Daniel French / Canadian 1946 Prominent fisheries scientist, known for his work studying human impacts on global fisheries
Pitcher, Tony J - Known for work on the impacts of fishing, management appraisals and the shoaling behavior of fish
Rice, Michael A American 1955 - Known for work on molluscan fisheries
Ricker, Bill Canadian 1908 2001 Fisheries biologist, known for the Ricker model, credited with being one of the founders of fisheries science
Ricketts, Ed American 1897 1948 A colourful marine biologist and philosopher who introduced ecology to fisheries science.[5]
Roberts, Callum - Marine conservation biologist, known for his work on the role marine reserves play in protecting marine ecosystems
Rosenthal, Harald German 1937 - Hydrobiologist known for his work in fish farming and ecology
Safina, Carl American 1955 - Author of several writings on marine ecology and the ocean
Sars, Georg Ossian Norwegian 1837 1927 Marine biologist credited with the discovery of a number of new species and known for his analysis of cod fisheries
Schaefer, Milner Baily American 1912 1970 Notable for work on the population dynamics of fisheries
Schweder, Tore Norwegian 1943 - Statistician whose work includes the assessment of marine resources
Sette, Oscar Elton American 1900 1972 Pioneered the integration of fisheries biology with oceanography and meteorology to create fisheries oceanography and modern fisheries science.
Shimada, Bell M. American 1922 1958 Notable for study of tuna stocks in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Sumaila, Ussif Rashid Nigerian - Notable for his analysis of the economic aspects of fisheries
Utter, Fred M American 1931 - Characterised by NOAA as the founding father of fishery genetics, he has been influential in marine conservation[6]
von Bertalanffy, Ludwig Austrian 1901 1972 Biologist and founder of general systems theory
Walters, Carl American - Biologist known for his work involving fisheries stock assessments, the adaptive management concept, and ecosystem modeling


Fish sorting
Fisheries scientists sorting a catch of small fish and Norway lobster

Some journals about fisheries are

Professional societies

See also


  • Fisheries and aquaculture research institutes


  1. ^ Quinn, Terrance J. II (2003). "Ruminations on the development and future of population dynamics models in fisheries". Natural Resource Modeling. 16 (4): 341–392. CiteSeerX doi:10.1111/j.1939-7445.2003.tb00119.x.
  2. ^ American Fisheries Society, National Fish Culture Hall of Fame, Spearfish, S.D. 2000
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  4. ^ Paul J.B. Hart; John D. Reynolds, eds. (2008). Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries: Fisheries. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0470693131.
  5. ^ Ed Ricketts’ death, 50 years ago last week, preceded that of Cannery Row by only a few months. – Eric Enno Tamm (2005) Monterey County Weekly.
  6. ^ History Makers: Honorable Mentions NOAA. Updated: 19 July 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2014.


External links

Aquatic ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

Bioeconomics (fisheries)

Bioeconomics is closely related to the early development of theories in fisheries economics, initially in the mid-1950s by Canadian economists Scott Gordon (in 1954) and Anthony Scott (1955). Their ideas used recent achievements in biological fisheries modelling, primarily the works by Schaefer in1954 and 1957 on establishing a formal relationship between fishing activities and biological growth through mathematical modelling confirmed by empirical studies, and also relates itself to ecology and the environment and resource protection.These ideas developed out of the multidisciplinary fisheries science environment in Canada at the time. Fisheries science and modelling developed rapidly during a productive and innovative period, particularly among Canadian fisheries researchers of various disciplines. Population modelling and fishing mortality were introduced to economists, and new interdisciplinary modelling tools became available for the economists, which made it possible to evaluate biological and economic impacts of different fishing activities and fisheries management decisions.

Catch reporting

Catch reporting is a part of Monitoring control and surveillance of Commercial fishing. Depending on national and local fisheries management practices, catch reports may reveal illegal fishing practices, or simply indicate that a given area is being overfished.

Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training

The Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (or CIFNET) formerly known as the Central Institute of Fisheries Operatives (CIFO), is a marine studies centre located at Kochi, India. Maintained by the Department of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry of the Government of India, the institute was set up to aid research and development in the field.

The institutes's charter commits it to bringing these developments to the aid of the poor fisher-folk in India.

The institute trains graduates in fisheries-related administrations. It is located at Foreshore Road near the School of Marines (CUSAT). The institute was set up in 1963 and is affiliated to the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT).

It is the only institute to offer a bachelor's degree in both Nautical science and fisheries science . It has two other units in Visakhapatnam and Chennai.

It promotes studies and research on marine science and technology, marine environment, socio-economic, legal and other related fields. CIFNET was the only government Nautical college till 2007, when the Indian Maritime University was created.

The institute arranges training programmes for foreign nationals from countries like Nigeria, Oman, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, Sudan, Yemen, Laos etc. under schemes like FAO fellowship,CFTC,SCAAP,Colombo plan,ITEC etc.

The institute has three training vessels, mainly used for imparting onboard practical training for institutional trainees and for providing qualifying sea service for post-institutional trainees of the institute. The vessel M.V. Prashikshani is attached to the headquarters at Kochi, the other two vessels M.V. Skipper II and M.V Tharangini are based at Chennai unit and Visakhapatnam unit.

Data storage tag

A data storage tag (DST), also sometimes known as an archival tag, is a data logger that uses sensors to record data at predetermined intervals. Data storage tags usually have a large memory size and a long lifetime. Most archival tags are supported by batteries that allow the tag to record positions for several years. Alternatively some tags are solar powered and allow the scientist to set their own interval; this then allows data to be recorded for significantly longer than battery-only powered tags.


Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is a free and open source ecosystem modelling software suite, initially started at NOAA by Jeffrey Polovina, but has since primarily been developed at the formerly UBC Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia. In 2007, it was named as one of the ten biggest scientific breakthroughs in NOAA's 200-year history. The NOAA citation states that Ecopath "revolutionized scientists' ability worldwide to understand complex marine ecosystems". Behind this lie more than two decades of development work in association with Villy Christensen, Carl Walters, Daniel Pauly, and other fisheries scientists, followed with the provision of user support, training and co-development collaborations. In 2013, development efforts were centralized under Ecopath International Initiative, Spain. Per January 2019 there are an estimated 8000+ users across academia, non-government organizations, industry and governments in 150+ countries.

Fish counter

Automatic fish counters are automatic devices for measuring the number of fish passing along a particular river in a particular period of time. Usually one particular species is of interest.

One important species studied by fish counters are Atlantic salmon. This species is of interest owing to its ecologically vulnerable status and anadromous lifestyles.

Fish measurement

Fish measurement is the measuring of the length of individual fish and of various parts of their anatomy. These data are used in many areas of ichthyology, including taxonomy and fisheries biology.

Fish stock

Fish stocks are subpopulations of a particular species of fish, for which intrinsic parameters (growth, recruitment, mortality and fishing mortality) are traditionally regarded as the significant factors determining the stock's population dynamics, while extrinsic factors (immigration and emigration) are traditionally ignored.

Fishery Resources Monitoring System

The Fishery Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) is a partnership of intergovernmental fisheries organizations that share a wide range of high-quality information on the global monitoring and management of marine fishery resources.

Humboldt Current

The Humboldt Current, also called the Peru Current, is a cold, low-salinity ocean current that flows north along the western coast of South America. It is an eastern boundary current flowing in the direction of the equator, and extends 500–1,000 km (310–620 mi) offshore. The Humboldt Current is named after the Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. In 1846, von Humboldt reported measurements of the cold-water current in his book Cosmos.The current extends from the southern Chile (~45th parallel south) to northern Peru (~4th parallel south) where cold, upwelled waters intersect warm tropical waters to form the Equatorial Front. Sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru, around 5th parallel south, reach temperatures as low as 16 °C (61 °F). This is highly uncharacteristic of tropical waters, as most other regions have temperatures measuring above 25 °C (77 °F). Upwelling brings nutrients to the surface, which support phytoplankton and ultimately increase biological productivity.The Humboldt Current is a highly productive ecosystem. It is the most productive eastern boundary current system. It accounts for roughly 18-20% of the total worldwide marine fish catch. The species are mostly pelagic: sardines, anchovies and jack mackerel. The system's high productivity supports other important fishery resources as well as marine mammals (eared seals and cetaceans) and seabirds. Periodically, the upwelling that drives the system's productivity is disrupted by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, often with large social and economical impacts.

The Humboldt has a considerable cooling influence on the climate of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. It is also largely responsible for the aridity of Atacama Desert in northern Chile and coastal areas of Peru and also of the aridity of southern Ecuador. Marine air is cooled by the current and thus is not conducive to generating precipitation (although clouds and fog are produced).

Marine snow

In the deep ocean, marine snow is a continuous shower of mostly organic detritus falling from the upper layers of the water column. It is a significant means of exporting energy from the light-rich photic zone to the aphotic zone below. The term was first coined by the explorer William Beebe as he observed it from his bathysphere. As the origin of marine snow lies in activities within the productive photic zone, the prevalence of marine snow changes with seasonal fluctuations in photosynthetic activity and ocean currents. Marine snow can be an important food source for organisms living in the aphotic zone, particularly for organisms which live very deep in the water column.

National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the United States federal agency responsible for the stewardship of national marine resources. The agency conserves and manages fisheries to promote sustainability and prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species, and degraded habitats.

Ocean gyre

In oceanography, a gyre () is any large system of circulating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Gyres are caused by the Coriolis effect; planetary vorticity along with horizontal and vertical friction, determine the circulation patterns from the wind stress curl (torque).The term gyre can be used to refer to any type of vortex in the air or the sea, even one that is man-made, but it is most commonly used in oceanography to refer to the major ocean systems.

Pelagic zone

The pelagic zone consists of the water column of the open ocean, and can be further divided into regions by depth. The word "pelagic" is derived from Ancient Greek πέλαγος (pélagos), meaning 'open sea'. The pelagic zone can be thought of in terms of an imaginary cylinder or water column that goes from the surface of the sea almost to the bottom. Conditions differ deeper in the water column such that as pressure increases with depth, the temperature drops and less light penetrates. Depending on the depth, the water column, rather like the Earth's atmosphere, may be divided into different layers.

The pelagic zone occupies 1,330 million km3 (320 million mi3) with a mean depth of 3.68 km (2.29 mi) and maximum depth of 11 km (6.8 mi). Fish that live in the pelagic zone are called pelagic fish. Pelagic life decreases with increasing depth. It is affected by light intensity, pressure, temperature, salinity, the supply of dissolved oxygen and nutrients, and the submarine topography, which is called bathymetry. In deep water, the pelagic zone is sometimes called the open-ocean zone and can be contrasted with water that is near the coast or on the continental shelf. In other contexts, coastal water not near the bottom is still said to be in the pelagic zone.

The pelagic zone can be contrasted with the benthic and demersal zones at the bottom of the sea. The benthic zone is the ecological region at the very bottom of the sea. It includes the sediment surface and some subsurface layers. Marine organisms living in this zone, such as clams and crabs, are called benthos. The demersal zone is just above the benthic zone. It can be significantly affected by the seabed and the life that lives there. Fish that live in the demersal zone are called demersal fish, and can be divided into benthic fish, which are denser than water so they can rest on the bottom, and benthopelagic fish, which swim in the water column just above the bottom. Demersal fish are also known as bottom feeders and groundfish.

Pulse fishing

Pulse fishing is a fisheries management technique for preventing fish stocks from being overfished by periodically permitting a cycle of fishing followed by a fallow period which allows stocks to reconstitute. It should not to be confused with electric pulse fishing which is a fishing technique which involves pulsing electric currents.

Research vessel

A research vessel (RV or R/V) is a ship or boat designed, modified, or equipped to carry out research at sea. Research vessels carry out a number of roles. Some of these roles can be combined into a single vessel but others require a dedicated vessel. Due to the demanding nature of the work, research vessels are often constructed around an icebreaker hull, allowing them to operate in polar waters.


A thermocline (also known as the thermal layer or the metalimnion in lakes) is a thin but distinct layer in a large body of fluid (e.g. water, as in an ocean or lake; or air, e.g. an atmosphere) in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below. In the ocean, the thermocline divides the upper mixed layer from the calm deep water below.

Depending largely on season, latitude, and turbulent mixing by wind, thermoclines may be a semi-permanent feature of the body of water in which they occur, or they may form temporarily in response to phenomena such as the radiative heating/cooling of surface water during the day/night. Factors that affect the depth and thickness of a thermocline include seasonal weather variations, latitude, and local environmental conditions, such as tides and currents.

Water column

A water column is a conceptual column of water from the surface of a sea, river or lake to the bottom sediment. Descriptively, the deep sea water column is divided into five parts—pelagic zones (from Greek πέλαγος (pélagos), 'open sea')—from the surface to below the floor, as follows: epipelagic, from the surface to 200 meters below the surface; mesopelagic, from 200 to 1000 meters below the surface; bathypelagic, from 1000 to 4000 meters below the surface; abyssopelagic, from 4000 meters below the surface to the level sea floor; hadopelagic, depressions and crevices below the level sea floor.

The concept of water column is useful since many aquatic phenomena are explained by the incomplete vertical mixing of chemical, physical or biological parameters. For example, when studying the metabolism of benthic organisms, it is the specific bottom layer concentration of available chemicals in the water column that is meaningful, rather than the average value of those chemicals throughout the water column.

Water columns are used chiefly for environmental studies evaluating the stratification or mixing of the thermal or chemically stratified layers in a lake, stream or ocean: for example, by wind-induced currents. Some of the common parameters analyzed in the water column are pH, turbidity, temperature, hydrostatic pressure, salinity, total dissolved solids, various pesticides, pathogens and a wide variety of chemicals and biota.

The term water column is also commonly used in scuba diving to describe the vertical space through which divers ascend and descend.

Fisheries science and wild fisheries

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