Green

Category contains 21 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

By Emily Hart

In the last week of sailing school, we explored different fishing strategies and their effects on fish populations. We had a great time playing games! For example, to investigate hook and line fishing (pole fishing) our “fisherman” threw a very soft ball into a sea of students who were either tuna, turtles or dolphins. We also investigated gillnetting, long-lining and bottom trawling through different simulations with ropes and beads.

We explored the concept of bycatch through these games, which is unwanted fish or other marine creatures that are unintentionally caught during fishing. The bycatch issue was first brought to light in the 1960s when high numbers of dolphins began to be caught in tuna nets. A successful campaign ensued and most canned tuna in stores is now “dolphin safe”. More recently, bottom trawling for shrimp has extremely high bycatch rates, with the highest found to be 20 bycatch organisms for every one shrimp. We kept track of our bycatch rates during our fishing simulations and found that hook and line fishing has the lowest rates of bycatch, in comparison to gillnetting, long-lining and trawling.

At the end of our sessions, I talked with the students about choosing sustainable seafood. Each student received a copy of the Seafood Watch guide produced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium to help them and their families make seafood choices. Check out the website, print out a pocket guide or download their free app: http://www.seafoodwatch.org. The New England Aquarium also has excellent programs in fisheries conservation and bycatch, check them out: http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/projects/fisheries_bycatch_aquaculture/bycatch/index.php

in Green

By Emily Hart

The summer is starting to wind down here at Courageous and this past week was our last with the Summer Learning Project. This week we pulled up the lobster traps to see Asian shore crabs (an invasive species), rock crabs, sea stars, a rock gunnel and our usual friends: blue mussels, barnacles and a variety of tunicates. I love seeing some of our students holding a crab or sea star for the very first time!

This week we also pressed seaweeds; just as you can dry and press flowers, you can also press seaweeds. I was excited to try it with the students and they really enjoyed arranging different types of seaweeds into artistic creations. I found that the easiest to press was sea lettuce because it’s so thin. The students took home their seaweeds to continue the pressing process and I’m excited for them to have reminders of their summer here.

In the process of picking seaweeds for pressing, I discovered one of my favorite activities here at Courageous: laying stomach-down on the dock with my head over the edge, checking out everything living on the side of the dock. Barnacles feeding, seaweeds swaying, mussels filtering water with their siphons, tiny anemones clustered together, and further down, orange sponges. It’s incredible! So next time you’re here to sail, stop on the dock to take a peek over the edge. I promised you’ll be amazed. 

in Green

 

 

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