Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 4 x 1 hour tutorials (4 hours)
Lecture 3 x 1 hour lectures per week (33 hours)
Practical 4 x 3 hour practicals (12 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   : 3 out of 6 essay questions.  60%
Semester Assessment Seminar  : students will work in groups to identify, summarise and lead discussions of key papers on central topics in fisheries biology and management.  10%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment of four 3-hour practicals.  Each practical will be written up and submitted at various deadlines throughout the first semester.  30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   : 3 out of 6 essay questions.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1) Discuss critically the fundamental concepts used in fish ecology, fisheries and aquaculture.

2) Evaluate the factors which determine the nature and distribution of the fish communities in different aquatic environments.

3) Understand basic concepts in population genetics and quantitative genetics and apply that knowledge to wild and farm populations.

4) Understand the principles of fisheries exploitation, management and conservation, including the environmental and demographic impacts of fishing in population dynamics.

5) Critically discuss the role of aquaculture in world fisheries and the consequences of aquaculture for wild stocks.

6) Appreciate the legislative framework applied to European fisheries.

7) Use primary literature in fish ecology, fisheries and aquaculture.

Brief description

The course introduces the basic principles of fish biology and fisheries, with an emphasis on ecology and evolution rather than on descriptive biology.


Provide students with a basis for introductory discussions on the ecology of fishes and the role of selective fishing in the dynamics and evolution of fish populations.


The module will be divided in three sections:

The first part of the course will focus on fish adaptations and the origins of fish diversity. It will describe the basic principles of fish ecology including the ecomorphology of locomotion and feeding, foraging ecology, bioenergetics of fishes, growth and production, ecology of reproduction, population dynamics and life histories of fishes, inter-specific interactions and the structure of fish assemblages.

The second part of the course will introduce the genetics of fish populations (including populations structuring and stock differentiation), the differences between wild and farmed (aquacultured) populations and basic principles of quantitative genetics applied to wild and farmed populations. This part will introduce fundamental concepts that will allow the students to understand the potential evolutionary consequences of selective fishing.

The last part of the module will introduce the principles of fisheries management with a consideration of aims of management of commercial fisheries. Different methods of exploitation will be considered with particular emphasis on the balance between sustainability and economic targets. The causes of over fishing will be analysed in detail and discussed in relation to some of the major commercial fisheries. Fisheries management techniques and a wide range of technical measures will be discussed critically in the light of the decline of major fisheries. The potential for evolutionary consequences of fish stocks declines will be discussed. United Kingdom and European fisheries legislation will be introduced as well as the environmental responsibilities of fisheries managers in relation to current legislation.

Subject / Lecture topic
Lecture 1: Introduction to the module: Diversity of teleost fish & adaptations
Lecture 2: Phylogeny and biogeography
Lecture 3: Growth I
Lecture 4: Growth II
Lecture 5: Bioenergetics I
Lecture 6: Bioenergetics II
Lecture 7: Swimming
Lecture 8: Feeding ecology
Lecture 9: Predation
Lecture 10: Competition
Lecture 11: Life histories
Lecture 12: Migration
Lecture 13: Reproductive ecology
Lecture 14: Reproductive physiology
Lecture 15: Osmoregulation
Lecture 16: Population dynamics 1
Lecture 17: Population dynamics 2
Lecture 18: Fisheries Biology
Practical 1: Mackerel Dissection lab
Lecture 19: Overfishing
Lecture 20: Evolution 1
Lecture 21: Evolution 2
Practical 2: Fish growth estimates lab
Lecture 22: Applied population genetics
Lecture 23: Aquaculture
Lecture 24: Disease
Practical 3: Fish population modelling
Lecture 25: Fisheries Conservation
Lecture 26: Fisheries seminars
Lecture 27: Fisheries seminars
Practical 4 : Fish evolution modelling
Lecture 28: Fisheries seminars
Lecture 29: Fisheries seminars
Lecture 30: Revision

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Practicals will include the use of statistics for analyzing the results and in some cases applying particular population models.
Communication Listening skills for the lectures, practicals, and subsequent discussion and group work in practical classes. Effective written communication in examinations and practicals reports. Some of the lectures, mostly in fisheries, will include extensive discussions on papers and reports that will require the active participation of the students.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. The students will be able to monitor their own progress by the results of the continuous assessment that will be directly related to the content of the formal lectures and for the completion will require the understanding of the concepts explained in those lectures.
Information Technology Use of electronic databases to find primary literature. Some practicals will require the use of specific software (e.g. excel modeling).
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate biological problems and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions.
Problem solving Through all the practicals the students will need to apply the concepts learned during the formal lectures to the analysis of the outcome of different scenarios in relation to changes in fish populations.
Research skills Students will have the chance of use primary sources of scientific literature for the practicals and the lectures on fisheries and aquaculture that will be largely based on the discussion of papers and reports.
Subject Specific Skills Techniques in fish monitoring, specific software.
Team work At least two practical sessions will be carried out in groups of 2/3 students that will need to collaborate and discuss results for the successful completion of the practical.


This module is at CQFW Level 6