FISH 520

Fisheries Conservation, Governance and Evaluation

Credit Value

6 credits

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Course Context and Prerequisites

This course is a core course requirement for students in the Oceans and Fisheries M.Sc. enrolled in the 12-credit thesis stream. For M.Sc. students enrolled in the 18-credit thesis stream, and for OCF Ph.D. students, this course is an elective. For those not registered in the fisheries program, permission to register will be at the instructors’ discretion, based on assessments of their knowledge base.


This graduate core course focuses on surveying the literature and conceptual foundations for the ecology, economics, governance, and management of fisheries, common methods of analysis, and developing students’ interdisciplinary problem-solving skills. Particular emphasis is given to reviewing the evolution of aboriginal fisheries, conservation initiatives, fisheries ecosystem models, fisheries economics theory, methods and applications, fisheries stock assessment, human dimensions of conservation, governance, and management of fisheries. This course will provide students with a shared interdisciplinary understanding of the various components that contribute to fisheries conservation, governance and evaluation and skills essential to carrying out some of the most generic types of fisheries data and modeling analyses. With the emergence of many critical issues facing fisheries in western Canada, discussion will be regularly focused at reviewing these from the interdisciplinary perspectives developed within the course. Issues such as stock collapse, discarding, over-capitalization in fishing fleets and dealing with uncertainty in fisheries management at regional and global scales are also to be reviewed and analyzed. This course will thus enable fisheries graduate students to efficiently acquire interdisciplinary knowledge and problem solving skills, actively engage in academic discourse on fisheries management and conservation issues and successfully carry out academic research into fisheries management and conservation problems at local, regional and global scales. This course is needed as part of a graduate teaching program to produce graduates at the Masters and PhD levels with interdisciplinary expertise in cutting edge fisheries research techniques and who are capable of collaborating in cross-disciplinary teams to develop solutions to current and emerging problems in fisheries management and conservation that are posed for example by global environmental change, systematic defects in the design of regulatory systems and increases in the concentration of control of decision making by special interest groups at local, regional and global scales.

The course will consist of six modules covering key interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and solving resource management and conservation problems in fisheries and will be held in the autumn term. Each module is to be convened by one to three IOF members with contributions from all members throughout the course. There are to be two 3-hour sessions and two 1.5-hour sessions scheduled each week. Half of the class time is to be held as a lecture, and depending on the module, the other half as tutorial or lab. Discussion sessions in the tutorials are to be focused on the assigned readings. The lab sessions are to be focused on learning fisheries modeling methods of analysis. The sessions in the module on assessment methods are all to include spreadsheet exercises and discussions of assigned readings. In summary about half of the course is to focus on acquiring knowledge and about half on developing interdisciplinary problem-solving skills.

Course Convenor

Dr. Murdoch McAllister