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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE An Introduction to Fisheries and Aquaculture

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit is designed for persons who wish to gain basic knowledge about the aquaculture and fisheries industries. The study-unit covers the basic concepts related to the aquaculture and fisheries industries in Malta, the Mediterranean and globally.

The aquaculture component of this study-unit will analyse the current global situation of aquaculture, including the types of species cultivated and the range of production systems being applied in the industry. As part of this analysis, the lectures will discuss the criteria for site and species selection relevant for the setting up of an aquaculture production unit. An overview of the aquaculture industry in Malta will be presented along with a detailed analysis of marine hatchery technology including broodstock management, larviculture and fingerling production. Students will also learn about the challenges faced by the aquaculture industry and current constraints and issues.

The fisheries lectures of this unit are mainly aimed at providing participants with a basic knowledge of marine fisheries ecology, including how environmental and biological processes influence the distributions and abundances of different types of commercially exploited species. Students will gain an insight into how the dynamics of natural life cycles are affected by commercial fisheries, and different approaches to collecting data on fisheries will be introduced. Different fisheries management and conservation strategies will be discussed and illustrated by giving an overview of fisheries management in the Maltese Islands.

The study-unit does not assume previous knowledge of aquaculture or fisheries but expects participants to be conversant with basic biological principles and terminology. This unit is open to University students other than those reading Biology for a Bachelor’s degree and to non-University participants who demonstrate that they can benefit from the course and who will be registered as auditors.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit is mainly aimed at providing participants with knowledge of aspects of:
- Global aquaculture practices
- Site and species selection criteria for aquaculture production
- Marine hatchery technology
- Challenges faced by the aquaculture industry
- Introduction to marine fisheries ecology
- Dynamics of exploited populations
- Fisheries data collection and evaluation
- Fisheries management concepts
- Fisheries management in the Maltese Islands

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify the differences between the different levels of intensification applied in aquaculture globally.
- Understand some of the production methods used to produce a number of commercially important aquaculture species.
- Appreciate the optimal culture conditions for commercially important species to determine and how this knowledge should be used when determining where a production site is chosen.
- Understand the complexity and techniques applied in the production of live feed, larvae and fingerlings in a marine hatchery.
- Understand the issues affecting the aquaculture industry such as those relating to the environmental impact of aquaculture production systems, importance of feed and ingredients and the major challenges and solutions related to diseases in the industry.
- Describe different types of commercially important species, and appreciate how their natural abundance at sea is influenced by environmental and biological processes.
- Appreciate the effects of fishing on commercially exploited species.
- Recognise different types of fisheries data, and appreciate how the evaluation of fisheries data is used in fisheries management.
- Acknowledge the importance of exploiting fisheries resources in a sustainable way.
- Appreciate and identify different fisheries management approaches.
- Describe the fisheries management policies and approaches being implemented in the Maltese Islands.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply the knowledge about the aquaculture industry to distinguish between different culture systems, their constraints and their advantages.
- Describe the production methods used to culture a number of commercially important aquaculture systems.
- Use knowledge about the optimal culture conditions for commercially important species to determine whether a particular site would be suitable or not for the culture of a particular species.
- Apply knowledge about the many procedures used in marine hatcheries to understand the technological and training requirements in a marine in a marine hatchery.
- Apply the knowledge about the issues affecting the aquaculture industry to understand how the industry can impact on the environment, how the industry is affected by changes in the availability and cost of feed ingredients, and to what extent diseases can affect the production in aquaculture systems.
- Distinguish between major types of marine fauna exploited by commercial fisheries.
- Apply basic knowledge of marine ecology and oceanography to understand patterns of fisheries productivity.
- Understand how managing the effects of fishing on populations and communities can lead to higher fisheries productivity, and increased societal benefits.
- Distinguish between different techniques used in scientific data collection and methods used to analyse such data.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of basic concepts and fundamental principles that underpin fisheries management.
- Integrate fisheries management theory with the practical challenges of managing fisheries in the Maltese Islands

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:


Main Texts:

- Lucas J.S. and P.C. Southgate (Ed) (2003) Aquaculture: Farming aquatic animals and plants. Fishing News Books.
- Stickney R.R. (2005) Aquaculture: An Introductory Text. CABI Publishing.

Supplementary Readings:

- Moretti, A.; Pedini Fernandez-Criado, M.; Cittolin, G.; Guidastri, R.Manual on Hatchery Production of Seabass and Gilthead Seabream - Volume 1. Manual on hatchery production of seabass and gilthead seabream. Volume 1. Rome, FAO. 1999. 194 p.
- Niall R. Bromage (Editor), Ronald J. Roberts (Editor). Broodstock Management and Egg and Larval Quality. By November 1994, Wiley-Blackwell.
- Stickney, R.R and McVey (2002) Responsible Marine Aquaculture. World Aquaculture Society CABI Publications. ISBN 0-85199-604-3.


Main Texts:

- Jennings, Simon, Michel Kaiser, and John D. Reynolds. Marine fisheries ecology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Supplementary Readings:

- Cooper, Andrew. A guide to fisheries stock assessment: from data to recommendations. University of New Hampshire, Sea Grant College Program, 2006. AVAILABLE ONLINE (
- Farrugia-Randon, Stanley. Fishing in Malta. P.E.G. Ltd. Malta, 2007.
- Farrugia-Randon, Stanley. The fishing industry in Malta: past, present, future. Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza, Malta, 1995.
- FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2014. Opportunities and challenges. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome 2014. AVAILABLE ONLINE (
- FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. A fishery manager’s guidebook – management measures and their application. Cochrane, K.L. (ed.) Fisheries technical paper 421. Rome, FAO. 2002. 231p. AVAILABLE ONLINE (
- Moore, G., & Jennings, S. (Eds.). (2008). Commercial Fishing: The Wider Ecological Impacts. John Wiley & Sons.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: There are no set pre-requisites, but participants would benefit from having a basic knowledge of Biology equivalent to Biology Intermediate Level.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study and Visits

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Leyla Knittweis

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
MSc (Research) and PhD application deadlines
Application Deadlines for Academic Year 2017/18 
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