All posts by Madelyn Hoefer

The “Donut Hole”

The “Donut Hole” was the disastrous collapse of the Pollock population in the Aleutian Basin of the Bering Sea. The collapse occurred in a location the “Donut Hole”, coined by fisherman because it was supposed to be an endless resource goldmine for fishing was fished past its threshold. A critical error was made, the fish caught inside the area decided calculated fish populations and then this data which was often inaccurate was used to calculate fish stocks. One of the problems I see with this technique is that fish caught by the international boats did not report their numbers.The other being that this is such a small sample area set to decide the health of a fishery. Also during this time period there was a boom in available more advanced technology. This technology allowed the fisherman to see the fish’s location with new radars. Another advancement was deep sea trawlers that allowed the fisherman to fish deeper and stay at sea for more days at a time. At the time there were no studies on the effects of these new deep trawling systems but they were destroying sea floors. In particular import systems such as coral, an ecosystem that supports anywhere from 800- 4000 species. The combined harvest during this time was in the billions, the fisherman ignorantly believed the fish would be at their disposal forever, a first come, first serve fishery. The pollock population dropped by 98 percent, an obviously not sustainable drop. In 1955 a decision was made by biologists, the fishery had been overfished in international waters (Russia, USSR) and Alaska, the fishery was forced to close. The “Central Bering Treaty” was created and signed in hopes of repairing the irreparable damage. I see parallels in the tragedy of this story and the northern cod collapse. In both scenarios the fisherman were naive to the concept of overfishing and ultimately lost their fishery, way of life and economy.

FTT 9/29- Quiz Reflection

Quiz Reflection

For the quiz last week I prepared in several different ways to further my comprehension of the material and review/refresh. I accomplished this by watching the class lecture recording I had missed attending from a few weeks ago which filled in gaps in my notes. Another thing I did was review my notes from class, which I feel is a given that all students do. There was another clase I missed 10 minutes of because I lost service while learning about testing methods “the garden experiment” so I went back and reviewed that recording as well. Going forward I would like to improve my study plans in a few ways. This being said It is a little difficult to gage how effective my study techniques proved to be since I have not yet received a grade for my quiz. However I can gage the level of preparedness based on how I felt being confronted by the questions. Going forward though I’d like to tweak my study plan a bit, the main being my overall organization. I’d like to get in the habit of reviewing the week’s notes on a certain day each week like friday mornings. I have free time to do so. It’s also important to review all the notes, not just the current week in order to keep it fresh in my mind besides just the current week or it will get fuzzy. I feel I could have been more prepared overall but it is week six, I have time to tweak my plan of action moving forward, the midterm will be coming soon enough and I want to have confidence in my work in order to turn in something well spoken and thoughtful . 

FTT 9/22- Salmo domesticus

To my understanding Salmo domesticus is when a salmon is no longer wild, man interferes with the natural life cycle. What is the purpose? Man no longer views the fish, Salmon as an animal but an item, with room to improve. Norwegians were able to double the growth rate of the salmon which means it takes less time for the fish to mature, time is money. In addition, from this breeding became a separate line of salmon, domestic losing it’s wild heritage. Allowing for increased production of farmed salmon forever with selective breeding of favorable genes for human consumption. While being able to feed more of the population at a reduced price is a novel thought the Salmo domesticus poses some concerns. One being that one that escapes from farm pens into the wild breed with wild stock. This is bad because the fish born in captivity don’t possess the traits that wild fish do and depend on for survival. For example a fish spawning in a faster moving stream/river needs to be stronger and bigger to be successful or adaptations needed to avoid predators. The Salmo domesticus dilutes the gene pool and makes the fish born in the wild with their traits struggle to reproduce viable offspring. Another drawback is the hormones, pesticides and antibiotics being introduced to the farmed fish. Which ultimately finds its way back to the consumers plate, raising health concerns for consumption as well as the ecosystem surrounding farm sites. These fish are not meant to survive without human support. I understand that stocks are struggling to sustain themselves due to decades of human disruption and that a farmed fish was created in response. Although I can’t help feeling there are two wrongs trying to make a right which is really just creating yet another obstacle for the depleting wild stock.

FTT 9/16

The word parallel jumps out at me in this passage by Paul Greenberg, as a child in school I learned the definition of parallel to be, two lines that will never intersect. The passage talks of the future of wild salmon and future of the Yupik. This being said I interpret Greenberg’s meaning as two paths, the salmon one line, the Yupik people as the other as two futures that no longer share the same course. As much as it saddens me to say it, yes I agree with this claim by Greenberg. The wild salmon runs are not what they once were on the Yukon and being that it is the longest salmon river in the world there is merit in strict regulations to protect. The Yupik people settled in the area ten thousand years ago. There is a long history of man’s relationship to the salmon in the area with rich cultural and historic roots. In order to protect this way of life for the Yupik people, biologists monitor numbers in the river using this data, from their findings they make educated guesses on the health of the fish. Which in return dictates their decision, on deciding sport fishing limits and when to have commercial openers. They reserve the right to act as conservatively as they feel is necessary to insure a sustainable fishery. The Yupik board of directors of Kwik’pak hope native caught Yukon Kings will become one of the most valued fish on Earth. Hopefully the Yukon continues to be protected and cherish so that the way of life it supports is protected as well. 

FTT (Sep. 1)

As a child Paul grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut with a pond just around the corner from the home he lived in. This pond was a paradise for him, filled with largemouth bass. Tragically in the winter of 1978 a blizzard so cold and inhospitable the fish in the pond could not survive hit the area. After moving Paul got a skiff for fishing in the Long Island Sound, caughting a large variety of fish species making him observe and learn about the fish and their habits. 

I would say my mission for knowledge differs a bit coming from a commercial fishing family. My dad has been a brown crabber all of my life and has always owned boats. As a child I would go with him to the docks to spend time with him but I don’t think I realized what a unique upbringing I had. It wasn’t until I was 16 and itching to buy a car did I work on a boat, I salmon tendered in Cordova AK.  Little did I know it would altered the course of my life. I fell in love with the community, work and people. I felt like the best version of me and knew that was the environment I belonged in. 

Currently only being 14 pages into the book it is hard to see how Paul’s opinions will change and expand. He makes an observation coming back at the time of his mom’s death. Deciding to going out once again on the Sound like he had for so much of his adolescent life he was shocked the fishing was not as abundant and diverse. My prediction as the book progresses is that he will shed light on negative things happening in the fisheries, so more of a pessimistic view.