Fisheries Program

The fisheries program at the University of Rhode Island, begun in the late 1960s and administered by the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences (FAVS), is one of the oldest fisheries programs in the northeastern United States.The Fisheries Program offers a degree program at the undergraduate level (B.S. in Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology) as well as opportunities to study at the graduate level in or M.S. in Fisheries and Aquaculture program or our Ph.D. program in Environmental Sciences with a fisheries emphasis.Students in our programs have come from throughout the United States and from many foreign countries.Faculty members in the program have research interests in fishing gear performance, bycatch reduction, fish population dynamics, multi-species fisheries management and marine sanctuaries, among many others.

The University of Rhode Island is the state’s Land and Sea Grant University, with a main campus located in the southern part of Rhode Island in Kingston; the Narragansett Bay Campus, housing the Graduate School of Oceanography and Ocean Engineering laboratories is 10 km away on Narragansett Bay.Many fisheries research and outreach operations are based at East Farm, located about 1 km from the main campus in Kingston, and nearby Narragansett Bay and coastal lagoons provide excellent areas for fisheries research.Centrally located in southern New England and 6 km from the Atlantic Ocean, the area is predominately rural, but it is also a major summer tourist destination for the Northeast because of its world-class beaches, fishing harbors, and historic attractions.Just 20 minutes to Newport, 2 hours to Boston, and 3 hours to New York City, the University is also ideally situated for access to almost every academic and recreational pursuit.

Facilities and Equipment
Fisheries research and instructional activities are carried out at the Kingston campus, East Farm, and the Narragansett Bay Campus.The department maintains a 54-ft. (17-m) fishing vessel (F/V Captain Bert), which is docked at the Wickford Shipyard about 20 km from the main campus on the Narragansett Bay.The Kingston campus houses laboratories used for instruction.At East Farm, the Fisheries Center is a 6,050 sq. ft. (562 m2) building housing much of the fisheries instructional and research equipment, including several diesel engines in the fisheries engineering lab and a net and gear development laboratory.A small fleet of 16-ft. (5-m) Boston Whalers and other small craft are housed at the Fisheries Center.At the Narragansett Bay Campus, cooperative fisheries research is being carried out in several laboratories including the Ocean Engineering Center housing a tow tank in which fishing gear design models can be tested for performance.Another of the key features of the Narragansett Bay Campus is that the United States National Sea Grant Depository is housed at the Claiborne Pell Marine Science Library on site.Additionally, the adjacent National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory provide the opportunity for faculty, staff scientists and students to actively collaborate on fisheries science projects of related to managing fisheries stocks along the Eastern Seaboard.

Collaboration with Industry
The FAVS Department has a long history of actively collaborating with the fisheries industry in the New England Region and internationally.Recent research and outreach activities at URI have led to commercial improvements of fishing gear for bycatch reduction and higher fish species selectivity, the characterization of seabed disturbance by mobile fishing gear, and the optimization of lobster trap design by use of low-level-light camera systems to study lobster behavior.There are active collaborations with the lobster fishing industry to evaluate methods to improve lobster habitat through artificial reefs, and collaboration with the recreational fishing associations to gather data to assist in sport fisheries management efforts.International industry collaborations have included the development of a blue crab fishery in Ecuador and fisheries development projects in the Sultanate of Oman. The framework for collaborating with industry on important economic development projects in aquaculture and biotechnology have been enhanced by the recent establishment of the Samuel Slater Centers for Ocean Technology and Environmental Biotechnology at the Narragansett Bay Campus.

The future of fisheries programs at the University of Rhode Island is closely tied with the issues important to the commercial industry and the sport fishing industry locally in Rhode Island and in the Northeastern United States in general.Since the late 1980s, catches of commercially important species in the Northeast have declined considerably, making fisheries conservation and management one of the most pressing public issues.Because of this, future fisheries projects will focus on efficiency of capture on targeted species, development of alternative fisheries and stock management, including the use of aquaculture methods to restore depleted stocks. Collaborations with fisheries resource economists and fisheries sociologists and anthropologists are necessary to build good fisheries management.Faculty, students and staff of the FAVS Department and the other departments around the University of Rhode Island are well positioned to contribute positively to the effort.


Fisheries Courses at the University of Rhode Island

AFS 101 Freshman Inquiry into Fisheries and Aquaculture

AFS 120 Introduction to Fisheries

AFS 121 Introduction to Fisheries Lab

AFS 210 Introduction to the Marine Environment

AFS 211 Introduction to the Marine Environment Laboratory

AFS 270 Basic Scuba Diving in Science and Technology

AFS 290 Small Boats: Their Equipment and Operation

AFS 312 Fish Habitat

AFS 315 Living Aquatic Resources

AFS 316 Living Aquatic Resources Laboratory

AFS 321 World Fishing Methods

AFS 322 Laboratory for World Fishing Methods

AFS 332 Interactions between Fisheries and Protected Species

AFS 390 Vessel Operations

AFS 391, 392 Special Problems and Independent Study

AFS 410 Quantitative Methods in Fisheries Ecology

AFS 415 Fishery Science

AFS 416 Fishery Science Laboratory

AFS 421 Design of Fish Capture Systems

AFS 422 Laboratory for Design of Fish Capture Systems

AFS 433 Research Diving Methods

AFS 510 Applied Problems in Marine Fisheries Ecology

AFS 516 Early Life History of Aquatic Animals

AFS 521 Evaluation of Fish Capture Systems

AFS 531 Fish Stock Assessment

AFS 532 Experimental Design

AFS 591, 592 Special Projects