Fisheries Ecology

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
14 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C164 Marine Biology,
BSC CC60 Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CC64 Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIB097 Tropical Marine Biology,
MSCIBA97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will give a broad understanding of biological, economic, and social aspects of fisheries science and the interplay between them.

Specifically, from fisheries ecology, production processes, life histories and distributions to population structures. We will also examine fishing gears and techniques, socioeconomics and stock assessments as well as freshwater fisheries and conservation management.

Module aims

The aim of the module is:

  • To give a broad understanding of biological, economic, and social aspects of fisheries science and the interplay between them.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Discuss how physical and biological processes drive the production of fished species and why the abundance of these species changes in space and time.

  2. Describe the scale, social and economic significance of global fisheries , the species that are caught and the gears that are used to catch them.

  3. Discuss the factors that motivate and limit human fishing activities and why fishers behave as they do.

  4. Outline the economic, social and biological reasons why fished species tend to be overexploited.

  5. Explain how to make basic quantitative assessments of single and multi species fisheries and estimate the parameters needed for these assessments.

  6. Discuss the key strengths and failings of different fisheries assessment methods.

  7. Discuss the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems, birds, mammals, non-target species and habitats.

  8. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and interpret data sets and other sources of information.

Module information

Fisheries play a key role in providing food, income and employment in many parts of the world and effective fisheries management requires clear objectives and a decision making process supported by the best scientific advice.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week.
  • One 6-hour field session.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay and DAI Timed Exam  19/01/2024  100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Leanne Hepburn, email:
Dr Leanne Hepburn, Dr Anna Sturrock
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Prof Edgar Turner
University of Cambridge
Professor of Insect Ecology
Available via Moodle
Of 62 hours, 34 (54.8%) hours available to students:
5 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
23 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.