Course description

Students will explore the theory and practice of fisheries sustainability through lectures, readings, laboratory exercises, and ground truthing in the “real world” (in the field) by interacting with local fishermen. This course will focus primarily on species harvested in the Gulf of Maine, with an emphasis on fin fish. Topics will include an overview of commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Maine: fish collection and dissections, fishing gear types and modifications, age and growth techniques, quantitative data collection and analysis, current, past and future directions in fisheries management strategies, collaborative research and ‘conservation’ fishing gear, environmental changes, perspectives from different stakeholders, hands-on demonstrations with commercial fishermen from different industries, sustainable seafood and the market-place, human dimensions of sustainable fishing (cultural and socio-economic issues).

Outcome 1: Students will be able to:

Provide their own definition of “sustainable fishery” and be able to discuss differing opinions regarding this term.

Define and discuss how fisheries have moved from a volume-based operation to one that tries to support both fishermen and marine ecosystems.

Comprehend challenges commercial fishermen face today.

Identify Gulf of Maine (GOM) finfish and other commercially important species.

Outcome 2: Know the basic biology, distribution, and ecology of commercially important fishes in the GOM.

Outcome 3: Articulate a historical perspective of how the fishing industry and fish stocks have changed over the past 200 years in the GOM; be able to discuss important issues surrounding the future of New England fisheries.

Outcome 4: Demonstrate how fisheries data are collected and used to determine basic stock assessments.

Outcome 5: Describe the importance of “conservation gear” and “collaborative research” in today’s fisheries.

Outcome 6: Collect fisheries-related data; analyze and interpreted data in small groups.

Outcome 7: Have researched and written a detailed paper about the changes incurred to one species over time.

Outcome 8: Describe the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems and the potential influence of climate change on fisheries.

Outcome 9: Identify the wide range of stakeholders involved in fisheries.

Outcome 10: Identify market-based factors that influence sustainable fishing and mediate human impacts on marine ecosystems.

Has a sustainability course designation at Cornell.


One semester of college-level biology

Summer 2024: