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 Cal Poly Humboldt, 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.