These activities for Fisheries were updated in late 2008 and early 2009, along with the Learning Results.
Ideas to try....
Careers and Research
The occupations associated with fisheries—including lobstering—are varied, and have changed dramatically since the 19th and early 20th century. Students with an interest in pursuing a job related to fishing have many ways to investigate its requirements, from interviewing local lobster fishermen, to learning about being a distributor, to working with boats and equipment.
Our unit is primarily concerned with the history of fishing in Maine, which contributes to understanding of present day conditions. When working with primary sources, such as people actively engaged in the fishing industry today, we have an opportunity to evaluate information for motive and perspective, and to compare information from different sources.
Health and Science
Environmental issues impact fishing. This is a very pertinent area for research related to health (mercury) concerns vs. health benefits of fish. What is being done? What kinds of public information are available to people to make them aware of both the negative and positive effects of eating fish?
Math, Science and Research
Charts, tables, and graphs lend themselves to historical comparisons: number and size of fish caught at various periods in history, catch effort, prices, and numbers of boats and fishermen involved.
Design a research project based on historical information. Research being done today utilizes random sampling techniques—an opportunity to understand how data is collected. In the past, lobstermen drew certain conclusions from their observations about the location of lobsters. Learn how another set of conclusions can explain the same observations of behavior.
Science and Technology
Science and technology offers many opportunities for further learning using fisheries as subject matter. From classification taxonomy, to ecological study of weather and oceans, to political decisions that affect the environment, this area is rich with possibilities for further investigation. Sampling ocean water, looking at the anatomy of fish and shellfish, visiting labs, and creating inventions (maybe a better lobster trap?) are possible.
Civics and Government
Public policy issues such as size limits, catch limits, regulations about offshore boundaries, seasonal regulations, etc. are pertinent to fisheries today, as they were in the past. Take a side on a debated issue and inform yourself thoroughly about your opinion. At what level of government are fishery policies decided? Where do you think controls should originate?
History, Geography and Economics
Fish have played a role in the history of Maine, the United States, and the world. It is interesting to look at the major events and periods of history and extract the role of fishing from these events. (See the book Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky, for example. See Resource list.)
The geography of the fishing grounds has played a part in settlement and trade—mapping projects fit well into this topic.
How does culture affect fishing? In the past, demand for fish was at least partially driven by the Roman Catholic Church’s requirements for meatless days. In the Orient there were, and are, demands for certain kinds of fish and other food from the sea. (See Maine and the Orient for historic information relating to the demand for exotic marine foods.)
Economics is very important in the fisheries unit. Information about the history of fishing provides a starting point to learn more about economic theories, markets, and international trade policies.