IntroductionFishing is one of the oldest professions known to man. Over time fishing has progressed from an artisan occupation to one of significant commercial importance. The discipline of fishery science was first recognized more than a century ago as scientists became involved with improving our use of living aquatic resources, protecting waters in which these resources live and/or improving the practice of aquaculture.
Fisheries Science Services carries out fisheries surveys in the waters which collect extensive data for both national and international stock assessments of the main commercial species of fish and shellfish. There is a huge range of marine living resources from sea cucumbers to large whales. In addition there are many species yet to be discovered, particularly in the deepest waters.
The multidisciplinary nature of fisheries science requires broad training in areas that may include ecology, oceanography, aquaculture, economics, mathematics, seafood technology, pathology and diseases, and management science. It is now recognized, more than ever before, that to utilize living marine resources in a way that optimizes benefits to society requires an understanding of a very complex set of interactions between the environment, target species, ecosystem, fishers, processors, managers, markets and politician. Linking fisheries data with oceanographic, sea bed mapping and climate change data; examining predator prey relationships and interacting with stakeholders are all important components of a new form of 'ocean management advice' which comes under the umbrella of the 'ecosystem approach'.
Generally, a fisheries scientist's role is to add to and utilize scientific knowledge of a fishery in order to obtain optimum benefits to society whilst securing the long-term protection of the resource and the environment in which it lives. To do so requires a good understanding of the biology and ecology of the target species and a more general understanding of the ecosystem in which it lives and interacts. A broader understanding in disciplines of oceanography, gear technology, seafood science, economics, sociology and politics is also required. Fisheries professionals most typically manage sport and commercial fisheries and fish hatchery operations, often addressing the difficult issue of how to maintain the delicate balance of having a healthy aquatic ecosystem while still allowing people to go fishing. The field is important socially and economically because fish are a staple food in the diets of most world cultures and millions of people worldwide rely on the industry for jobs and recreation.
Fisheries science is a natural resources management or wildlife management career focused on managing fish populations in reservoirs, lakes, rivers, oceans, and/or aquaculture facilities. Job responsibilities will vary greatly, depending on the field of employ. Fisheries graduates have a good record of finding work in their chosen fields relating to capture fisheries, culture fisheries, fisheries administration and management or research and can be anywhere in the world ranging from the poles to the tropics.
A career in fisheries science can create an aqua culturist, farm managers, exporters, traders, breeders and modern fishermen's, etc. It helps a person to assist the research and development; to develop and execute fisheries development plan. Fisheries Science graduates will find work at federal and state agencies in wildlife, fish, and natural resource management, as well as in the private sector managing sport and commercial fisheries and fish hatchery operations with consulting firms, reclamation companies, and aquaculture farms. Academic research positions and jobs with nonprofit organizations are also key employers, including environmental advocacy groups, community education societies, zoos, nature centers and sporting clubs and associations. Water districts, agencies and associations also commonly employ fisheries specialists.
Dr. David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) was the most influential of all American ichthyologists (fish biologists) and was also one of the best-known naturalists and educators of his time. He and his students dominated the field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been said that all ichthyologists today can trace their professional ancestry back to Jordan, including numerous scientists that worked for predecessor agencies of the NOAA Fisheries Service. He spent much of his scientific career at Indiana University (1879-1891), Stanford University (1891-1931), and the Smithsonian Institution. While at Stanford, he was instrumental in founding Hopkins Marine Station. The modern field of fisheries biology owes greatly to the research, mentoring and teachings of David Starr Jordan, who wrote more than 50 books and published over 600 scientific papers. Jordan's legacy lives on in the NOAA research vessel that bears his name.
Dr. Oscar Elton Sette is considered the father of modern fisheries oceanography in the United States and is internationally recognized for his many significant contributions to fisheries research. His pioneering work demonstrated the importance of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, including the interrelationships between fisheries, oceanography, and meteorology for understanding and solving marine fisheries problems. Sette formulated the concept that the "changing ocean" plays a key role in the natural fluctuations of fish stocks and their vulnerability to harvesting. He published noteworthy scientific papers describing the connections between food webs, ocean currents and trade winds to explain the distribution and abundance of tuna in the equatorial Pacific. Additionally, Sette helped formulate early policies and guidance for fisheries research and management in the United States. He was the founding director of what is now the NOAA Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu.
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Institutes : Some of the prominent institutions offering courses in Fisheries Science can be had from the following links.. Click here for more information