Drawing on the biological, physical, and social sciences, fisheries scientists seeks to understand the reproduction, growth and survival of fish and shellfish, often with the goal of advancing knowledge that leads to the sustainable management of these resources. Their research can range from molecular to ecosystem scales. Aquaculture is a specific subdiscipline that focuses on growing fish and shellfish in tanks and pens for human consumption and to restore endangered species. Such production now accounts for almost half the seafood consumed, thereby increasing food security for human populations around the globe.
Fisheries science within UMCES began with our founding in 1925 with pioneering oyster research by Professor Reginald Truitt at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Today, UMCES scientists work in freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems and use state of the art laboratory, field and modelling tools to understand the distribution, movement and production of fish and shellfish. Examples include use of natural genetic and chemical tags to fish movement, and expertise in the emerging field of management strategy evaluation. Additionally UMCES operates the largest oyster hatchery in the state, producing annually more than a billion spat on shell to support ongoing restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay.