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UA regents approve new bachelor of arts, minor in fisheries

Submitted by Carin Bailey Stephens
Phone: 907-322-8730


The University of Alaska Board of Regents this week approved a new Bachelor of Arts in fisheries and a minor in fisheries. The degree and minor will be offered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The new bachelor's degree program is part of a multimillion-dollar expansion of the UAF fisheries program thanks to a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. The degree will prepare students for careers in fisheries business, policy, anthropology or rural community development. According to Trent Sutton, associate professor of fisheries and the coordinator for the undergraduate fisheries program, the program will train students in the social, economic and business aspects of fisheries.

"Our students will learn not only how to work with fish, but how to work with the diverse users of this vast natural resource," said Sutton. "Alaska needs more fisheries experts, especially those trained in Alaska, and we intend to fill that need."

The new program emphasizes hands-on learning through internships and undergraduate research. Students will work directly with fisheries experts in the workplace, the laboratory and in the field. The program was created using input from members of Alaska's fishing industry, including seafood processors, fishing companies and Alaska Native groups.

Another priority of the program is to increase the number of Alaska Native and rural Alaska students in fisheries. As part of this effort, classrooms have been equipped with technology for distance delivery of classes. Students will also be able to begin their studies at UAF, UAA or UAS and complete their degree through UAF in either Fairbanks or Juneau.

UAF already offers a Bachelor of Science in fisheries, which prepares students for more traditional careers in fisheries biology and management. As part of the UAF fisheries expansion, the Bachelor of Science curriculum is being updated and revitalized to include more opportunities for hands-on learning.

The minor in fisheries will allow students in other majors to gain a solid introductory background in fisheries. Both the new bachelor's degree and the minor become officially available in January 2009.

About SFOS
The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. 55 faculty scientists and 135 students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.