What’s the Problem with Trawling?

Commercial trawling has a devastating effect on biodiversity in areas where it has been used. Large commercial trawlers have been historically decimating both marine environments and significantly decreasing stock levels to a level at which they are unable to recuperate. The impact on communities sitting on the seafloor, known as benthic communities is devastating, the primary culprit being drag trawlers with beams of up to 12 meters, and several beams often deployed at the same time. This lesson looks at the effect of commercial trawling on both fish stocks and benthic community biodiversity. Students will understand relative sizes and impacts of large-scale fishing operations, and devise a plan to reduce the impacts of trawling. Students perform percentage calculations and analyze graphs.

Go Fish - A Hands On Lesson on Fisheries

In everyday life, students can be unaware of the impact of their food choices on the environment. Therefore, it is essential that students are educated in their food choices. If students cannot link their food to where it comes from, they are unlikely to make sustainable choices in the future. “Go Fish” aims to encourage students to start thinking about fish in the ocean and how fish stocks can change for the better or for the worse. In the educational game, cards will be selected by chance, so some students ‘oceans’ may be more successful than others. Students will complete a fishing log to monitor events of the game and reflect on the events that cause a change. By playing this game, students can come aware of the negative and positive actions that can take place to encourage fish stocks or declining fish stocks.

What's the Catch?

What’s the Stake?: A Lesson on Fisheries Management

A fishery is a geographic region that contains a population of aquatic species which are a natural resource that needs to be managed. This management requires people from different backgrounds and in different fields, such as stakeholders, scientists, fisherpeople, government groups, and citizens. The goal of managing fisheries is to ensure that the different fish populations will be sustainable and a resource for now and future use. It can be a difficult thing to manage since people in different roles will have different priorities. Students will re-enact a fisheries management meeting by adopting the roles of various stakeholders in Plymouth (commercial fishers, recreational fishers, environmental groups, citizens, scientists, etc.) and advocate for a certain policy based on their role as a stakeholder.

What's the Catch?

FITBag a resource to stop single use plastic bags

A resource developed by EarthEcho International's Youth Leadership Council for their youth peers to initiate single-use plastic bag reduction strategies in their home communities.

What’s the By-Catch? Lesson Plan

Seafood serves as a primary source of food and protein for many people across the world, and the economies of many nations are heavily influenced by fish stocks and fisheries management. While efforts are in place to manage fisheries in many places around the world, there are still risks associated with fishing on a commercial scale. Many fishing vessels are equipped to target specific species of fish, for example, cod, but the large nets and trawls used for efficiency have a downside. This downside is called “bycatch”. Bycatch is defined as any non-targeted species that are brought in accidentally within the catch. In this lesson, students will use the engineering design process to create an alternative to modern fishing nets to try and reduce the amount of bycatch. They will also practice data collection and review.

What's the Catch?

Bio-Blocks - A Fish Habitat STEM Design Challenge

Global populations have for decades migrated more and more to coastal regions. This colonization of the coast has resulted in large areas of what was formerly rocky shores, salt marshes, and mudflats becoming built environment for people. What’s more, as sea levels rise more, coastal defenses are being put in place to protect towns and cities from the oceans. These coastal defenses are also replacing natural habitats that play a vital role in the life cycle of fish, including spawning locations, nurseries, and sources of planktonic food. This, in turn, is affecting the fish stocks in the oceans. During this lesson, students will gain a basic understanding of the idea that specific habitats are essential in the lifecycle of some species. Students will work through the engineering design process to build a ‘bio-block’ solution to make sea walls a more nature-friendly solution for flood protection.

What's the Catch?

Fish Hooks, Not Bird Hooks: A STEM Design Challenge

Approximately 600,000 sea birds die each year by getting caught on hooks used in line fishing. A device called the Hookpod, invented by a UK company in Devon, has a clever solution to this problem. The fish hook is covered by a case so birds cannot get hooked. At a certain depth (below the diving depth of indigenous birds) a mechanism is triggered to release the case which floats to the surface and is retrieved to be used again. These lesson ideas provide an interesting practical idea to use a particle model to explain density and pressure in a gas. Students will then take part in a STEM design challenge to make a device to respond to a pressure change at a particular depth of water.

What's the Catch?

EarthEcho Expeditions: What's the Catch? Trailer

Join us on our 2019 Expedition: What's the Catch? Journey with Philippe Cousteau and the EarthEcho International team to learn more about fisheries and what we can do to help.

EarthEcho Expeditions: What's the Catch? Establish Our Fisheries

Philippe Cousteau travels to Plymouth, England, one of Europe’s largest seafood exporters, to explore fisheries and the impacts these practices can have on the environment. Philippe joins Dr. Martin Atrill from the University of Plymouth out at sea to use a trawl net for a fish survey and to understand how data is collected and fish populations are monitored. Fish require balanced and healthy ecosystems in order to thrive and feed our growing population. Philippe joins Dr. Abigail McQuatters-Gollop to learn more about plankton the base of the food web that supports all fish.

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