2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog 
    May 27, 2024  
2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fisheries Biology, B.S.

The overall goal of the Fisheries Biology Program is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and motivation required to ensure the conservation of fish and aquatic resources that are faced with increasing societal demands and increasing loss of habitat. We stress development of a field-based understanding of the relationships between freshwater and marine fishes and the habitats upon which they depend, but our program is broad enough to provide specialized training in fish population dynamics and fishery management, restoration ecology, systematics, marine and freshwater aquaculture, fish health management, water pollution biology, and wastewater utilization. Each of these areas has its own important role to play in the overall conservation of fish resources.

Fisheries Biology students have on-campus facilities for hands-on studies: a recirculating freshwater fish hatchery, rearing ponds, spawning pens, and modern laboratories for study of fish genetics, pathology, taxonomy, ecology, and age and growth. Also on campus is the California Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, supported by both state and federal government, and a large fish museum collection.

Off campus, students take classes and carry out research projects at the university’s marine laboratory in Trinidad, about 12 miles north of campus. A 90’ university-owned ocean-going vessel, docked in Eureka, is available for classes and for faculty and graduate student research in nearshore ocean waters. Numerous small boats and a specialized electrofishing boat are available for instruction and research in local bays, lagoons and estuaries.

Our graduates may qualify for certification by the American Fisheries Society as Associate Fisheries Scientists, and many continue their education after HSU, receiving MS or Ph.D. degrees in fisheries biology or other closely related fields.

Possible careers: aquarium curator, aquatic biologist, biological technician, environmental specialist, fish culturist, fish health manager, fisheries biologist, fisheries consultant, fisheries geneticist, fisheries modeler, fisheries statistician, hydrologist, museum curator, reservoir manager, restoration ecologist, sewage treatment water analyst, water quality advisor.

Preparation: We recommend that high school students interested in fisheries biology take as many challenging biology, chemistry, mathematics, and computer classes as possible, and that they also stress oral and written communications.

A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. For a description of degree requirements to be fulfilled in addition to those listed below for the major, please see “Bachelor’s Degree Requirements  ”. The Upper Division Area B General Education requirement is met by the coursework within the Fisheries Biology major.

Requirements for the Major (71-77 units)

Core Courses (49-53 Units)

The following core courses are required for all fisheries biology majors.


Complete one of the following concentrations to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Fisheries Biology, B.S. Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing this program will have demonstrated the ability to:

  • provide a description of how physical and biological factors of aquatic ecosystems determine the distribution and abundance of fish populations and pose testable hypotheses and experiments to identify specific factors that constrain population growth or distribution
  • select and implement basic data collection protocols appropriate for characterizing status of fish communities, including assessment of species composition, abundance, and population structure (age, size, genetic)
  • convey scientific concepts in written, oral, and visual communication formats, including following basic guidelines for format and structure of scientific reports, papers, or presentations
  • describe and explain how fisheries management problems can be expressed as quantitative models, produce useful tabular and graphic summaries of quantitative data, and conduct simple tests of statistical hypotheses
  • describe the scientific, legal, political, and social factors that determine goals for fisheries management and conservation, and to identify appropriate management strategies that can be used to achieve these goals
  • critically evaluate their own fisheries work as well as fisheries data, information, and conclusions reported in published peer-reviewed literature, unpublished technical reports, and popular media.