I came across this list of books and papers most often cited by fisheries scientists. Some highlights are listed below (with a personal bias, of course).
Sale PF et al. 2005 Critical science gaps impede use of no-take fishery reserves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:74-80
Roberts CM et al. 2001 Effects of marine reserves on adjacent fisheries. Science 294:1920-1923
Beverton RJH and Holt SJ 1957 On the dynamics of exploited fish populations. Fisheries Investigations Series II, volume 19; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, U.K. 533 pp
Hilborn R and Walters CJ 1992 Quantitative fisheries stock assessment. Chapman & Hall, New York, 570 pp
Walters CJ 1986 Adaptive management of renewable resources. MacMillan Publishing Company, New York. 300 pp
Gordon HS 1954 The economic theory of a common-property resource: the fishery. Journal of Political Economy 62:124-142
von Bertalanffy L 1938 A quantitative theory of organic growth. Human Biology 10:181-213
Schaefer MB 1954 Some aspects of the dynamics of the population important to the management of the commercial marine fisheries. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Bulletin 1(2):25-56
Volterra V 1926 Fluctuations in the abundance of a species considered mathematically. Nature 118:558-560
Clark CW 1976/1990 Mathematical bioeconomics: the optimal management of renewable resources. 1st and 2nd Ed, Wiley, New York
Stuff I’ve cited myself:
Quinn TJ & Deriso R 1999 Quantitative fish dynamics. Oxford University Press, Oxford
Pauly D et al. 2002 Towards sustainability in world fisheries. Nature 418: 689-695
Fournier DA et al. 1990 MULTIFAN a likelihood-based method for estimating growth parameters and age composition from multiple length frequency data sets illustrated using data for southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 47:301-317
Other stuff of interest:
Schnute J 1985 A general theory for analysis of catch and effort data. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 42:414-429
Perry AL et al. 2005 Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes. Science 308:1912-1915
I was surprised not to find Hastings & Botsford’s 1999 Science paper on the list. Finally, another interesting observation:
Only two fisheries economics references are listed: Gordon (1954) and Clark (1976/1990). A complete list of other highly cited fisheries economics papers is given in Eggert (2006) “Fisheries economics and 20 years with Marine Resource Economics” Marine Resource Economics 21:269-284.
UPDATE: Here’s another innarresting post by the same guy: Catchiest Titles of Scientific Papers.