FISH 6001: Ecology, Management, and Practice of North Atlantic Fisheries Assignment Guide

This course contains two major grading components:

  • Module assignments - 60% (10% per unit * 6 units)
  • Final seminar - 40%

Module Assignments

Each module instructor will explain the module assignments in class, and will provide guidance at the start of their unit. All module assignments are due prior to the first class of the subsequent unit (e.g. Module 1 assignments are due before the first lecture of Module 2).

Module instructors will give instructions on how to submit each assignment.

Seminar Assignment

Throughout the course you will learn about many aspects of fisheries science. Your assignment, which spans the entire semester, will be to synthesize what you’ve learned and use it to describe a North Atlantic fishery.

Select a Fishery

Select a fishery that primarily takes place in the North Atlantic. If you need inspiration, consult this list of Canadian fisheries. Its appendix includes basic information about each stock, as well as the location at which it takes place.

It is your responsibility to select a fishery that has sufficient information available to complete the assignment

Inform Dr. Favaro which fishery you will study by the end of Week 3. We ask that there be no duplicates, and fisheries are first-come-first-serve. So if you really want to look at one particular fishery you had better pick fast!

You may propose another fishery in the North Atlantic region if it is not included in this list. Try to pick something with a reasonable geographic scale - not too big, not too small. Be prepared to give a brief overview of the fishery and demonstrate that there is sufficient information available about the fishery on which to base a full assignment.

Create your Seminar

In your seminar, you will describe this fishery to your instructors and classmates from the perspectives gained across this course. You will create an oral seminar, accompanied by Powerpoint slides (or equivalent), that will cover the following topics:

  1. Give an introduction to this fishery.
    • Where is it? What is its geographical extent?
    • What are the target species? What is caught as bycatch?
    • Is it commercial, recreational, or an indigenous Food, Social, or Ceremonial fishery? Is there a combination used?
  2. Fish harvesting technology
    • What are the primary gears used in the fishery?
    • What are the environmental impacts of the gear?
    • Are alternative gears being tested?
  3. The Northwest Atlantic Ecosystem
    • What is the target species’ mean trophic level? What does it eat? What eats it?
    • What ecosystem processes drive abundance of this stock?
    • How might climate change effect this fishery?
  4. Fisheries assessment
    • What is known about the fishery’s stock? Is it abundant? Depleted?
    • What index or indicies of biomass are used to assess the fishery, and what is the fisheries’ assessment model?
    • Does any eco-label regard this fishery as sustainable? Why or why not?
  5. Fisheries management
    • Is this an established or emerging fishery?
    • Who manages this fishery?
    • What is and is not working with management of this fishery?
  6. Post-harvest
    • How is the catch handled, processed and stored? Which products forms?
    • Describe types of processing and handling waste
    • Illustrate biorefinery concept for processing discards

All topic areas above should be covered in your seminar, and emphasis will be placed on assessing your ability to synthesize content.

By the end of your talk, we should have a holistic understanding of the fishery you studied. Your audience should be able to broadly understand the fishery and major issues associated with it.

Your talk should be no more than 20 minutes in length, with 10 minutes allocated for question and answer.


Grading for this assignment will be based on a modified version of the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research rubric for judging student talks:

Delivery, visual aids: 10

  • Speak clearly, make eye contact with audience. Speak with intention
  • Face the audience, be engaging. Aim for smooth and clear delivery
  • Slides should be clear, with large font, and uncluttered
  • Sources should be cited appropriately
  • All figures should be clear and readable, with large fonts
  • Avoid purposeless animations, sound effects, etc. Everything on the slides should have a purpose

Organization: 15

  • Presentation should be logically organized
  • The seminar should emphasize flow and synthesis - not mere lists of information
  • The seminar must include content on all six components outlined in the assignment description

Subject expertise: 60 (10 per subtopic)

  • Student should synthesize the fishery. Seminar is not a list, it is a synthesis
  • Student should demonstrate knowledge in all areas above for the fishery in question
  • Data gaps should be identified
  • A breadth of scientific literature (and grey literature, where appropriate) should inform the seminar

Question and Answer: 15

  • Presenter engages with audience.
  • Questions are answered thoughtfully, not defensively
  • Differentiate between “no one knows” and “I don’t know”
  • Student demonstrates ability to synthesize existing knowledge and apply it to answering audience questions


All six module instructors plus Dr. Favaro will grade your talk. The top and bottom marks will be eliminated, and the median grade of the remaining five assessments in each category will be used.

Note that you have 20 minutes maximum to speak. You will be cut off at 20 min - and anything not covered by that point will not be graded. Timekeeping is part of the assignment

A 10 minute Q&A will follow the talk.


All available course instructors, including Dr. Favaro, and all the FISH 6001 students will be present for these seminars. Questions may be asked by instructors or students.