Fisheries Management

CMM26B Elective Course 6 ECTS
Period -
Instructor Dr. James Kennedy


In this course we will cover many of the topics associated with marine fisheries, including why and how we assess fish populations, their habitat associations, life history and population dynamics, and how fisheries are currently moving towards ecosystem-based management. We will review some of the typical benchmarks and reference points used to evaluate stock status, what types of data go into a biological assessment, and some of the theory and practice behind the collection those data. We will discuss models for growth, mortality, and population size, and the assumptions and caveats associated with them. We will investigate the importance of essential fish habitat and methods for evaluating biodiversity of fishes in marine ecosystems. Finally, we will touch on how we might assess the efficacy of marine protected areas and concepts related to management in the whole ecosystem, and why this is a direction in which fisheries management may be headed.

Part of the class will involve students working on simple models implemented in spreadsheet and the statistical software R to analyze data and associated with assessing fish stocks and modeling ecological concepts. These are basic models; the models actually used for most stock assessments and ecology are substantially more complex, often incorporating such auxiliary data as independent survey results, fishing fleet dynamics, feeding ecology, fishing effort, gear types, economic factors, etc. A strong background in modeling is NOT required – this is a course to introduce the tools used in fisheries assessment, not the details on how to develop or evaluate them


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Collect otoliths and determine the age of fish
  • Analyze fishery data to estimate growth rates, mortality rates, and generate population size estimates using standard fisheries techniques
  • Explain the purpose of conducting biological assessments of fish populations
  • Assess habitat as it relates to managing healthy fisheries
  • Apply knowledge of species-specific life history and behavior information to more effectively manage fisheries
  • Recognize the specific role that habitat plays in framing life history and the potential impacts that affect fish habitat
  • Read and evaluate scientific articles related to fishery biology, and compare different viewpoints relating to fishery biology both orally and in writing
  • Apply their knowledge of marine fish ecology and management alternatives through the class project, which will be presented on the final day of the course



Dr. James Kennedy, a specialist at the Icelandic Marine Research Instituted.