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Marine Science | Student Perspective | Francine Pons

MSc Marine Science & Climate Change

What attracted you to studying at University of Gibraltar and specifically, the MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change programme?

I am from Gibraltar myself, and I have always been attracted to the nature and marine life around us. The course seemed incredibly interesting, and I thought it was a great opportunity to continue studying close to home.

How has the MSc programme aided you in terms of skills?

I think the course has been very well-rounded and has enabled us to gain a wide array of skills that will be extremely useful for working in the environmental field. The course has helped us develop our fieldwork skills further, including marine data collection, as well as report and academic writing.
The course also challenged us to learn new skills such as science communication in the form of infographics and videos. The modules have been varied and interesting, and the assignments have been perfectly designed to prepare us for the future.

What is your MSc dissertation project on?

My MSc dissertation project is based on tuna fishing in the Straits of Gibraltar. The Atlantic Bluefin tuna (hereafter: ABFT) (Thunnus thynnus) has been a very treasured species for millennia, and there is huge literature on the subject. The project proposal involved conducting a critical and synthesis review on the history of tuna fisheries, including the ecology and life-history of ABFT, as well as oceanographic processes relating to their distribution.
I thought it was a great opportunity to look at the evolution of tuna fisheries in the Straits of Gibraltar, incorporating recreational tuna fisheries.  The final aspect of the project involves exploring the possibility of implementing a catch-and-release tuna fishery in Gibraltar via stakeholder engagement, and conducting a review on best-practice and recommendations from catch-and-release programmes in other regions.

Tell us about your UniGib experience and the MSc programme how it has helped you towards your chosen career path

I studied in Liverpool John Moores University for my undergraduate degree (BSc Wildlife Conservation), and then decided to apply for the Masters at the University of Gibraltar. I found the whole experience easy to settle in to. The small class experience was something I welcomed, after being used to huge lecture rooms in the UK.
I feel like it allows better teaching and understanding between lecturers and students, and enables class discussions, which are important for learning. The course has been a great experience overall, and has helped me gain connections with similar minded people in Gibraltar, as well as numerous skills that will be beneficial in the future.