Shifting baselines and wasitlines…

Let’s hear from Daniel himself to kick off our conversation about shifting baselines
He implies there is controversy around some of his ideas (indeed!) and it is important to understand this legitimate scientific debate.

Please read a response about ‘fishing down food webs‘ from the key group of researchers with a different view of the world.

In today’s lecture I also show a now (in)famous plot interpretted to mean that all seafood will be gone by 2048! That sounds pretty serious! But let’s learn a bit more before turning our noses up to sustainably caught fish.

The tangled web of sustainability- too vague to understand and ultimately not useful, or a vital concept?

The S word is everywhere these days. Is sustainability about recycling? LED bulb replacement? Or eating organic foods?

You all had lots to say about sustainability as described by economist Robert Solow in this weeks forum. Many of you, embodied in this post by kmingo2, seemed to buy Solow’s definition of sustainability (what was it again?!) but balked at the idea of substitutes.  For example, svsanchezbutler in her post was pretty clear the idea of substitutes didn’t sit right.  Like many others, morality and ethics was invoked in thinking about how we use resources today that may impact future generations tomorrow.  In our discussion we will jump in and try and find some clarity on this vague S word.

Oh…and what is Solow talking about when comparing himself to Peter Pan?

New forum post and supplemental required reading for Tuesday’s post

This week’s forum prompt requires a close reading and analysis of a controversial paper by Nobel Award winning economist Robert Solow  (CLICK LINK FOR PAPER sust-solow). Ready the paper and   and address the following question on the forum

What does sustainability mean to you and how does it fit, if it fits at all, into Solow’s definition? Do you agree that sustainability depends on the availability of substitutes? If aquaculture provides a substitute for wild caught fish, then is it appropriate to think that aquaculture is sustaining wild fisheries?  Nobel Laureate Dr. Bob Solow

GMO Aquaculture- An inevitable technological step towards feeding 7.5 billion people?

Lots of fodder for great conversation in response to the idea that AquaAdvantage salmon (what are they again??) are inevitable next step in the technological process of food security.  Bmarshall6 like many others wrote that Salmo domesticus and AquaAdvantage are pretty similar save for a key difference (what’s that again?) Isabella seemed not to be comforted by the purported safe guards of all “sterile and all female” with an eerly similarity to the lessons learned from Jurassic Park (as we recall it doesn’t end well). A host of others simply thought AquaAdvantage salmon are representative of the next big thing that is a “necessary evil”. Do we agree this is necessary and an evil? What are the ethical considerations in the production of GMO organisms for consumption?

Can’t wait for a great conversation!

Wild, farmed, and does it matter?

You all lit a fire this week in response to the question about Greenberg’s description of wild and farmed salmon.  Several themes emerged from your posts that we should explore together:

  1. The decline of wild salmon led directly to the market demand to create aquaculture replacements. Do you all think that if salmon in nature had stayed at sustainable harvestable levels that farmed fish would not be a dynamic in the 21st century?
  2. Farmed fish directly impact wild fish through  various means….
  3. Farmed fish are inherently ‘bad’ and that “friends don’t let friends eat farmed fish”

Looking forward to diving into these ideas with you all later this morning!

Great first discussion and forum post for next week is ready for you!

We had a wonderful first conversation, thank you to all that participated. I hope to have everyone’s voices in the discussions moving forward (no small feat given the class size this year). Given this, it is extra important to make sure that no one dominates the discussion. If you feel yourself doing so, please try to allow space for other voices as well.

Where did we end up with the health of the world’s fisheries question? Compared to past years, you all were very tightly centered around 5-7 with only a few outliers.  Most were more concerned about the health of fish stocks based on personal experiences, worries about climate, invasive species, and other human-caused problems, and from the belief that many fish stocks are over-fished (fished too hard such that the fish can’t replace themselves or caught too young and small that the weight of the harvest is lower than it could be).

We then looked at ‘the answer’ and saw it depends on how you interpret the facts given the best current assessment of stock health compiled by fishery scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle (a hub of knowledge and expertise). Would these facts have changed your answer? Whether this is good news or bad news is up to how you interpret the facts. OH…and your new forum topic is ready.

How many Fisheries are Overfished?

Welcome to Fish & Fisheries in a Changing World at UAF!

I love autumn! The leaves are turning, coho salmon are headed upstream to spawn, the smell of cranberries is in the air.

And autumn is the start of another round of FISH 110 at UAF, and I’m so glad you are joining me on the journey.  We have a strong group starting this year (in fisheries lingo, you all are a big ‘cohort’ representing a ‘recruitment event’), which I know will only make our time together more meaningful.


1) Class meets at 9:45- 11:15 every Tuesday and Thursday (holidays excepted). Students in Fairbanks are expected to come in person to class in 201 O’Neill Building on the UAF west ridge (Directions HERE)

2) Students not in Fairbanks, or with permission by me, will connect with the class via Zoom.  The details for connecting are here:

  • Via your computer, laptop, or mobile device click the following link:
  • If prompted, the password for the class is Fish110
  • I recommend you try playing with Zoom to test your microphone, webcam, and to get used to the interface.
  • Note, this is a NEW interface for UAF and so we are working out the kinks together. I appreciate your patience and help figuring it out in advance


Fish and Fisheries in a Changing World