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Subject: Introductory Fisheries Textbooks
From: Randy E Edwards <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 17 May 2005 14:44:12 -0400

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I thank everyone (and there were many) who provided suggestions and
comments about available textbooks suitable for an introductory class in
fisheries.  I have listed the suggested books below and have summarized
comments, and have added reviews that I have found online.  Hopefully, this
will help others considering textbooks.  Please understand that I have only
lightly edited the comments received in email messages, and have not spent
a lot of time formatting the references.

I have decided to adopt Jennings et al.  2001.  Marine Fisheries Ecology.
Blackwell Science based on reviews and comments, and more importantly on my
bias toward marine fisheries, and my concept of what the scope of material
should be to provide a good, general background.

If I have missed anything or if others have additional suggestions or
comments, please post them to the list.

Randy E. Edwards, Ph.D.
Research Fish Ecologist

University of South Florida, College of Marine Science
USGS Center For Coastal & Watershed Studies
600 Fourth Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4846
Phone:  727/803-8747 (x3069)
FAX: 727/803-2031
[log in to unmask]

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't

tell them where they know the fish.  [Mark Twain]

Harrison and Parsons (2000) Fisheries Oceanography – An Integrative
    Approach to Fisheries Ecology and Management" Blackwell Science, ISSN
    1054 6006.

o     Considering the mess that is Fisheries Science today, I would
seriously suggest that one of the few Holistic perspectives on the real
issues is "P.J. Harrison and T.R. Parson's "Fisheries Oceanography - An
Integrative Approach to Fisheries Ecology and Management" Blackwell
Science, ISSN 1054 6006. The Chapters are very effective, and each has an
exceptional array of support documentation - and 'modern' examples. Too
many of the 'traditional' textbooks still sell basically outdated, and
particularly useless equilibrium-based methodologies that are inappropriate
for ocean ecosystems. No one I know who has read it has any complaints -
and most wish this were in their hands when they started out - in any
aspect of aquatic sciences.
o     "This book is recommended as a good introduction to a wide range of
subject matter... The bibliography is extensive; it should be a treasure
trove for those entering the field. The book should capture the interest of
both students and professionals seeking to strengthen the foundation, as
stated in the subtitle, for an integrative approach to fisheries ecology
and management." Trevor Platt, Bedford Institute of Fisheries Oceanography,
Fish and Fisheries

Jennings S., Kaiser, M. J., and Reynolds, J. D. (2001). Marine Fisheries
    Ecology. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK
o     Reviewed favorably in Fish and fisheries 2003(4): 372-378 by A. O.
Misund.  I find this book ambitious, challenging and highly informative.
o     I've used the Jennings book and it is ok.  But I've found that I had
to use several other books (up to 10) as reference material.  The choice of
book really depends on how quantitative the students are.  The more
quantitative, the less I used Jennings.  Also, take a look at the King and
Ross books.  They are not bad for undergraduates and low-level graduates..
o     I adopted Jennings et al since 2003 (80 hour teaching!!!) but I found
it a little bit superficial, because too often some "evidence" from
reported "experiments" seem lacking serious experimental approach. So you
have to carefully read the original paper (nice bibliography) and if the
case explain why some conclusion seems inappropriate, no matter the journal
published it. Nevertheless I believe it's really an innovative book, but
the teacher should be the difference.
o     I have used Kaiser et al (sic Jennings) for my Fisheries Science and
Management course for a few years.  I have found it to be an excellent text
(one of its great advantages is the ability to download all the figures!).
They are writing a new edition which should be out later this year (?). We
also wrote a review of the text when it first came out (see attached).
Previously I used King's book which is also quite good but needs an update.
Pitcher and Hart have promised a new edition of their book for years, but
it still isn't out.  We just reviewed Walters and Martell.  Our opinion is
that it is far too advanced to be used for an intro fisheries course but
could be used as an additional text.
o     (note – review by Francis Juanes et al. (2003)was provided as scanned
(image) pdf from Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 132:619-620. (2003), and is
favorable, although I am unable to cut/paste comments.
o     I am a fisheries student and have used that book for my Marine
Fisheries Management course.  I would recommend it because it covers all
everything from ecology, early life history, management, etc. and in a good
amount of detail.  As a fisheries student the concepts were easily
explained. I continue today to use this as a reference source.  I
definitely think it would perfect for your course.
o     In my teaching in fishery Biology, I have used both Wooton’s Ecology
of Teleost Fishes and Marine Fisheries Ecology  written by Jennings,
Kaiser, and Reynolds.  I can recommend both of them.  Especially Marine
Fisheries Ecology have be good fore our course, because it contain both
assessment and fish ecology. Additionally it take focus in the fishery in
the North Atlantic. Ecology of Teleost Fishes, on the other hand are only
partly dealing with the assessment problematic, but it's ecology part is
good, and in many cases better than in Marine Fisheries Ecology.
Unfortunately for us, the basement is often in freshwater and tropical
environment. Therefore we change to Marine Fisheries Ecology.

D.H. Cushing, 1995. Population production and regulation in the sea: A
    fisheries perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 354 pp.

King, M.  1994. Fisheries Biology: Assessment and Management Fishing News
    Books.  ISBN: 0852382235.  341 p.
o     Book Description:  Fish stocks in many countries are presently
overexploited. Knowledge of how to assess and effectively manage fisheries
is becoming increasingly important to ensure that fish remain a renewable
resource and continue to provide employment and food. This book contains
essential information and expert guidance on modern methods of resource
assessment and management for both temperate and tropical fisheries. It
details fisheries resource species from invertebrates to migratory fish
species, population dynamics, fisheries yield and monitoring and reviews
modern catching methods. Containing many worked examples and numerous
illustrations it is a comprehensive and invaluable text for students of
marine science, biology and ecology, fisheries researchers, scientists and
o     Teacher comment:  It's a pretty simple text with lots of good worked
o     I agree about the book from King.

Ross, MR. 1997. Fisheries Conservation and Management. Prentice Hall, New
   Review (Ecology,  Dec, 1997):  Fisheries conservation and management is
    a fisheries textbook that breaks from the traditional fisheries
    approach and prepares fisheries students for problems facing us in the
    21st Century. The book deviates from the traditional approach of
    emphasizing production of fish for the creel or fish market. It
    concentrates on maintaining or restoring fish stocks and managing
    people: i.e., allocation of resources, conflicts among user groups, and
    effects of human activities on aquatic ecosystems.
      The book is intended for introductory fisheries conservation and
   management courses at the sophomore or junior level. Michael Ross states
   in the preface that several fisheries books provide technical detail for
   advanced students with broad backgrounds in science and mathematics. He
   has chosen to write a book for students who have not obtained a complete
   technical background because of the demands of fulfilling general
   education course requirements. He has chosen to introduce the students
   to the "breadth of the fisheries conservation and management process"
   and has "minimized coverage of the mathematical approaches of fisheries
   science." He provides background information on aquatic environments,
   fish ecology, and human dimensions. Michael Ross has achieved his
   objectives. I used this book last semester very successfully. However, I
   found that it is suited as well or better for upperclassmen and
   beginning graduate students.
      The book has many excellent features. Unlike most fisheries
   textbooks, it is well balanced between marine and freshwater fisheries.
   The writing is appropriate for beginning college students. It is easily
   readable because Ross uses common names for species and presents the
   scientific names in the appendix. The printing, figures, and photographs
   are high quality. The book is relatively short and can be read in a
   semester.      He synthesizes information well into principles,
   patterns, and trends in fisheries biology. The book also has a good
   index and glossary.
      There are many excellent chapters. Because many students will not
   have taken a limnology or an oceanography course, Ross's descriptions of
   aquatic habitats and processes in Chapter 2 are valuable. He covers
   freshwater, marine, coastal, and wetland habitats. Chapter 3 on life
   cycles, populations, and communities is outstanding. Most fisheries
   scientists would find his treatment of the reproductive ecology of
   fishes valuable. Chapter 4 is strong and sets this book apart from most
   fisheries texts. Ross introduces the human factor: interactions with
   resources, types of users, why anglers fish, trends in recreational
   fishing, economics, resource conflicts, and allocation of fish among
   users. In Chapter 5, he describes harvest methods and resources. He
   presents resource fishes by habitats instead of taxonomic groups.
   Students should enjoy the habitat approach, although it does lead to
   redundancies with groups that occupy more than one habitat. The
   illustrations of fish species are superb. Chapter 6, on conservation
   management, occurs in few fisheries textbooks. It covers the history of
   conservation management, development of agencies and legislation, Native
   American rights, and endangered species legislation. Chapter 7, on
   regulations, and Chapter 8, on fish stocking, are very complete. Chapter
   9 focuses on habitat deterioration and Chapter 10 covers manipulating
   habitats. Another chapter that is unique for fisheries textbooks is
   Chapter 11 on endangered aquatic species. Finally, Chapter 12 presents
   case studies in fisheries management and restoration: e.g., Atlantic
   striped bass, Pacific salmonids, Lake Erie walleye, New England ground
   fisheries, and trout streams.
      There are some limitations in the book, although a teacher can
   overcome most by presenting supplementary information. I am disappointed
   by the lack of mathematics in the textbook. We do the students and the
   fisheries profession a disservice by letting students think that
   fisheries is not a mathematical science. I think that simple
   mathematical concepts should be presented in a lower division textbook:
   e.g., condition factors, length-weight relationships, relative weights,
   proportional stock density, and simple ecological indices. Another
   limitation is the treatment of fishing gear. The descriptions are
   inadequate. Although some gear have excellent illustrations, others are
   not illustrated: e.g., longlines, trolling boats, and beach seines. Ross
   presents fishing gear that are used in commercial fisheries and ignores
   sportfishing gear. Moreover, I think that he should also present
   assessment gear that are used by fisheries scientists to collect data,
   e.g., electrofishing. After all, students who read this book should
   learn what fisheries scientists do and should develop career goals. The
   section on population growth should be expanded whereas some information
   on population dynamics is too advanced and should be deleted: e.g.,
   surplus production curves, dynamic pool model, production equation, and
   yield equation. Another weakness is the discussion of pond stocking and
   management. It is meager and seems out of place in the chapter on fish
   stocking. It could easily be deleted in favor of presenting basic
   fisheries mathematics and assessment gear.
      In summary, Michael Ross has written an excellent textbook that
   deviates from earlier traditional fisheries texts and presents issues
   that will confront fisheries scientists in the next century. I highly
   recommend it for students from sophomores to beginning graduate
   students.  JIMMY D. WINTER Texas Tech University Range, Wildlife, and
   Fisheries Management Lubbock. Texas 79409-2125

P. J. Harrison and T. R. Parson, eds. 2000.  Fisheries Oceanography: An
    integrative Approach to Fisheries Ecology and Management.  Blackwell
    Science.  .  ISBN 0-632-05566-9
o     I was reconsidering my response to the query about what texts might
cover the necessary information for non-fisheries science majors who are
taking courses in Marine Ecology or Sociology that involves fishing
cultures, or fisheries management issues in general.  Indeed, the Harrison
and Parsons - Fisheries Oceanography text is the most up to date, in depth
science referenced text on the shelves - for those wanting an in-depth
assessment of where fisheries science has been, and where it has to go in
order to fulfill real world demands.

Pitcher, T. and Hart, P. J. B. (1991). Fisheries Ecology. Croom Helm,
London, UK.

T. J. Pitcher, P. J. B. Hart and D. Pauley, eds.  1999.  Reinventing
    Fisheries Management.  Kluwer Academic Publishers ISBN 0-7923-5777-9.
o     Other book I use, but not so often, is Pitcher and Hart's Fisheries
Ecology (Croom Helm or AVI Publishing Company).  It is a little bit more
complicated model-and-formula-wise, but it covers the topics you mention.

Wooton, R.J. 1998. Ecology of Teleost Fishes, 2nd edition.  Kluwer Academic
o     In that case, go with Bob Wooton's  Ecology of Teleost Fishes, by
Chapman and Hall.  Cool book, I use it in part to prepare my other courses
that are fish-related (Ichthyology and Fish Culture).  Other book I use,
but not so often, is Pitcher and Hart's Fisheries Ecology (Croom Helm or
AVI Publishing Company).  It is a little bit more complicated
model-and-formula-wise, but it covers the topics you mention.

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