These Fisheries activities were updated in late 2008 and early 2009 along with the Learning Results. Note that the 1997 Learning Results divided grades into 3-4 and 5-8, while the 2007 Learning Results divides them into grades 3-5 and 6-8.
Ideas to try....
Careers, Education, and Research
In learning about the history of Maine’s fisheries, students will acquire information about specific communities in Maine which historically have been involved in this industry. In the past, young people might choose fishing as an occupation, at least for part of the year, because it was available to them. If you want to be involved in the fishing industry today, what options are there?
Research topics associated with fisheries could include interviews with fishermen, lobstermen, or distributors, such as people working for a supermarket. Students can make maps of fishing grounds, combining pictures of fish with the areas on the map where they are fished, or find out where different fish found in the market are caught or raised in fish farms. Read about the daily life of a fisherman or lobsterman.
In the area of health, the history of the fishing industries teaches us about the physical hazards and stresses of the fishing life. What factors contributed to health problems among fishermen? In some ways, the advent of canned food allowed more variety of diet among fishermen, but canning brought its own hazards. What happens in the canning process? How can safe practice be assured in home canning?
Work with numbers: historians have kept track of numbers of fish caught in different periods of time, numbers of fishermen, size, weight, and length of the fish, and capacity of boats. Construct, to scale, a lobster gauge to measure humans, or make a gauge that shows sizes of striped bass one can keep.
Graph the results of a student poll: how many students’ families eat fish? How many times a week? What kinds?
Another graphing idea: have students name all the kinds of fish they can think of before studying this unit. Graph and compare with how many species they can name at the end of the unit.
Science and Technology
Fish and shellfish may be classified in many different ways. In the outline for this module, fish are identified as being demersal, pelagic, or anadromous. What other ways could fish and shellfish be classified? Create some imaginary fish and think of a classification system based on different characteristics.
How are lobster and cod fisheries related historically? How has the food web impacted fish catches? Make a diagram of the ocean biome.
Fishing banks were the result of a climate change—the retreat of the glaciers. Study the major climate shifts the earth has undergone. Relate to the theory and documentation of global warming now underway, and how it could affect the fisheries.
Preservation of fish took place long before canning, refrigeration and freezing were available, by means of smoking, salting, and drying. Did all cultures throughout the world use the same methods? Why or why not? Try drying some fruit to preserve it.
How has technology altered not only the methods of harvesting fish but the kinds and forms of fish products (e.g., fresh, frozen, canned)?
Civics and Government
Government regulation of the fisheries has been a topic of interest for almost as long as fishing has taken place in Maine. This unit addresses some of these regulations, and provides an opportunity for discussion of the rights of individuals to fish without restrictions vs. laws aimed at preserving fish populations for the future. What do fishermen do on their own to protect fish or lobster populations? Find out how Maine’s Department of Marine Resources and other agencies came into being. What role do individual towns play in regulating fishing?
Pretend you lived in a fishing community in the late 1800s. Imagine what changes your family might go through as the fisheries changed through new technology. What similar changes are happening now?
Geography and Economics
Map the locations of fishing grounds. Relate maps to towns whose economic base was fishing. Are there comparable areas in other areas of the world?
What items were traded for fish, besides money?
Fishing and lobstering are often subjects for art in Maine. The Museum had an art show called “The Art of Lobstering” in 2004---all the entries had to do with lobsters and lobstering, and some were made of lobster parts. Do art projects about and with fish and shellfish.