Fisheries science is a branch of marine science that deals with studies on the life history and state of fish stocks. The term ‘life history’ refers to the general biology of a fish stock. The term ‘state of a fish stock’ refers to the number and weight of fish in the stock. The overall aim of fisheries science is to provide information to managers on the state and life history of the stocks. This information directly or indirectly fits into the decision making process. Variety of disciplines such as economic, social and political sciences all have an impact on the final management decision of fisheries sector in a country.
Fisheries science is changing rapidly and has diversified to include studies on the impacts of fishing on seabirds, mammals, rare fish, habitats and ecosystems. Fisheries science is now concerned with providing advice on new technologies on fishing activities (e.g. trawl fisheries) rather than on single stocks. The Department of Fisheries has a major role in providing the answers related to management issues for managers and public.
Our objectives are:
- To train professional man power, initially by providing a degree course
- To conduct basic and applied research to promote new technologies relevant to the needs of the fishing industry.
- To disseminate new knowledge and engage in extension work for the benefit of the fishing community in the region
- To develop the coastal and fresh water aquaculture and provide advisory and consultancy services to facilitate transfer of new technology appropriate to local situation to the industry.
The Department of Fisheries was established in June 2009 (By cassette notification of 05th June 2009) and Fisheries Science was introduced as a principal subject for B.Sc degree programme from the academic year 2009/10. The proposal to establish the Department of Fisheries was written in year 2007 with Dr. Mrs. S. Kuganathan in the chair and in association with other Zoology Department staff at the request of the then Acting Vice- Chancellor and Dean, Faculty of Science, Prof. R. Kumaravadivel. The proposal was recommended by the Faculty Board of Science at its 117th meeting held on 08th August 2007. The senate at its 321st meeting held on 02nd October 2007 and the Council at its 320th meeting held on 30th September 2007 had approved the proposal.
The Department of Fisheries functioned as a unit earlier with the name Center for Development of Fisheries (CDF). The CDF was established in May 1998 as a forerunner to a Department of Fisheries in the University of Jaffna with a view to develop and harness the fisheries resources of this area by creating appropriate man-power for the middle level managerial positions in fisheries and aquaculture.
The Center started a one year, self financing Diploma-in Fisheries Science course in August 1999 with fifty students. By 2004, two hundred and twenty students, by annual intake, in four batches, had successfully completed the course. In 2004, steps were taken to upgrade the course and a two years Diploma in Fisheries Science course was started with sixty students. Later 42, 52 and 40 students were recruited in year 2005, 2007 and 2010. The Diploma holders are trained to engage in self employment, start new ventures and involve in export trade and contribute to the development of Fisheries sector while enhancing their economic status. Lectures were conducted by visiting lecturers. The CDF provided lectures, practical classes and field work to the students without any Technical officers, Lab attendants and Computer application assistant. Dr.K.Chitravadivelu (Retired Associate Professor in Zoology) extended his devoted services as “all in one” during the 10 years history of the CDF. Only one labourer has been appointed as a permanent staff at the CDF since the beginning.
Dr. Mrs. S. Kuganathan was appointed as the Head, Department of Fisheries with effect from 01st August 2009. However, the Department still functions without any permanent academic or non academic staff as the cadre provisions have not been made available, yet. Lectures, practical classes and field work classes are all conducted by the visiting Lecturers since 2009. Since 1st November 2011 a trainee Technical Officer was appointed as a temporary attachment to the Department. Technical officers and laboratory attendants of Zoology Department assist the practical classes and field work since the origin.