What is Fisheries Science?


And What Do Fisheries Scientists Do?

Fisheries science is the academic discipline involved in the study of freshwater, marine and/or estuarine aquatic systems that involve humans. A fishery is any body of water with which humans interact, such as in the form of fishing or swimming. A body of water that does not involve human interaction in one form or another is not a fishery (Hutton Junior Fisheries).

Fisheries scientists analyze the ecological health and sustainability of fisheries, how the health of fisheries affects the people who interact with them and vice versa.

Fisheries scientists assess and monitor fish and aquatic invertebrate populations to determine ecological and economic health of the environment as well as to determine harvest rates of various species. Harvest rates refer to the amount of fish or aquatic invertebrates caught for commercial, recreational or subsistence purposes. Fisheries scientists conduct research in the field as well as in laboratories.

Fisheries science is typically taught in a university setting, and can be the focus of an undergraduate, master’s or Ph.D. program.

Fisheries, as the name suggests, implies an organised effort geared towards the capturing of fish including inland and sea or other aquatic species. This industry involves catching, processing, marketing and conservation of fish.

Fisheries aim at developing and maintaining sea wealth. Fisheries are estimated to provide 16% of the world population’s protein and India holds the seventh position in the world as regards to the value of fish exports. Around 8 million people of India are directly or indirectly dependent on the fisheries sector.

The rapidly developing fishery industry provides employment not only to the traditional fishermen, but also to the highly skilled personnel engaged in the scientific breeding and management of fisheries.

The scope in the field of fishery science is increasing with the development of brackish water and freshwater aquaculture. Because of the country’s expansive natural resources, dynamic entrepreneurial skills, this profession is advantageous to the Indian economy also.

A career in fisheries science can create aqua culturists, farm managers, exporters, traders, breeders and modern fishermen’s, etc. The main objectives of fisheries science is to make available the much needed technically competent extension personnel for transfer of technology. It helps a person to assist the research and development; to develop and execute fisheries development plan.

Eligibility and Courses for Careers in Fisheries Science

Fisheries Science can be studied at the graduate and postgraduate level. To become fisheries graduate one has to pass a 4 year degree course in Bachelor of Fisheries Science from fisheries colleges of state agriculture universities.

Eligibility criteria are 10+2 with biological science as one of the subjects. The course enables a candidate with basic knowledge in all the three categories of fisheries science i.e. capture, culture and post-harvest technology.

1.   Admission

Specifically in India, admission is given as per merit of candidates and availability of seats. For admission to various Central Institute of Fisheries Education in the country, the candidates have to appear for an all India level common entrance test conducted by ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), New Delhi. After completing B.F. Sc. one can take M.F.Sc. which is of 2 year. After getting a professional degree in Fisheries Science, one goes into research — oriented activities.

2.   Course Areas

B.F. Sc. students are trained in a wide variety of subjects such as aquaculture, mariculture, industrial fisheries, fish processing and post-harvest technology, fish nutrition, pathology, environment, ecology and extension etc.

Sustainable fish production practices and scientific breeding and management of fishes are major areas of specialization. The course also contains practical experience like on sea cruise on fishing vessels for data collection and fishing, in processing plants and on aqua farms.

Job Prospects and Career Options

Fishery Science offers numerous career avenues. Fisheries graduates can find employment in the public sector organizations such as the fisheries department and the nationalized banks. Opportunities lie in government agencies, State Departments of Agriculture and organizations such as the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)Opens in new window.

Recruitment to these institutions is through the State Public Service Commission. For those having good research skills, can find employment in organizations such as the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) and the National Fisheries Development Board as research assistant, biochemist, biologist, technicians, etc.

In the state government sector, a fisheries graduate can apply for the post of Assistant Fisheries Development Officer (AFDO)/Fisheries Extension Officer (FEO) and District Fisheries Development Officer. Various opportunities in Central government agencies are in Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Fisheries survey of India (FSI), NIO, WHO etc. They can also be employed as a field banks officer, managers in agriculture loan section in nationalized as well as private banks.

Job prospects are also available in private sector in aquaculture farms, hatcheries and processing plants. M.F.Sc degree holders can be appointed as assistant professor in the faculty of fisheries and those with doctorate can be recruited as scientists in various agricultural and fisheries institutions.

Private research companies in India and abroad are also entering into this field with large investments. Fisheries graduates are in great demand for fisheries professional in the aquaculture and processing sectors in gulf and African countries.

There is also a scope of self employment in this field. After owning degree of B.F.Sc, you can also open your own enterprise.

You will also get the opportunity to work in abroad where you can do business in the field of aquaculture, fish processing export and import. In the field of fisheries, you can become an aquaculturist, farm managers, exporters, traders, breeders and modern fishermen, etc.

The job title of fisheries is given below:
  • Fisheries Biologist
  • Fisheries Extension Officer
  • Fisheries Officer
  • Fishery Manager
  • Fishery Technician
  • Fishery Observer
  • Assistant Fisheries Development Officer
  • District Fisheries Development Officer
The recruiters include:
  • Fisheries Development Board
  • Food Departmet
  • Banks
  • Food Processing and Technology
  • Fish Breeding Farms

Fishery Biologist's Job Duties

Biologists who work in basic fishery research conduct multiple studies to increase our understanding of different types of fish. To accomplish this, biologists accurately count the amount of salmon in an area, document the current food supply, and calculate how many fish can be supported. This type of research can help regulate fishing quotas in relation to population control.

Biologists working in applied research generally study how to remedy fish habitat-related problems. For instance, urban development and industrial waste can negatively affect various fish habitats. Nearly all biologists work with teams of other professionals, but not all team members possess a biology background. Therefore biologists need strong communication skills to effectively explain their projects to individuals of all backgrounds. This skill is also useful for holding business meetings with potential investors since a significant part of the job includes finding continual funding.

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  • References
    1. Adapted from the manual
      The Right Hand to Eat: 116 Career Choices By Safiya Mustafa Jariwala

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