Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Due November 3 by 11:59pm

Figure 4.2 from Billion Dollar Fish on page 70.

As we know from the history of northern cod, the WWII era brought about massive change to global fisheries. Technology came, as did systematic record keeping by the FAO. We also know that 1976 was a big year with the passing of the Law of the Sea.

In a short post of at least 250 words describe the changes that occurred beginning in 1976 for the Alaska pollock fishery. In your response make clear you understand  the legislation that gave exclusive economic rights to countries 200 miles from their shores (related to Law of Sea but not same law) and what the heck a joint venture fishery is! Said another way, you want to be able to explain in your own words the patterns of catch that are described in Figure 4.2 on page 70. 

As usual respond to posts by the next day before midnight.



Due October 27 by 11:59pm

Now that you have finished reading Four Fish it is time to reflect on and apply some of its messages.

Imagine you are talking to your grandmother who lives in the middle of the United States and shops at a relatively high-end grocery store that has an extensive ‘seafood counter’ with options from around the world and across the trophic scale (i.e., from mussels to marlin).

Your grandmother is a conscious consumer and wants to make healthy and environmentally informed choices for what she buys. What would you say about what you have learned about seafood in FISH 110, including your reading of Four Fish, that helps your grandma make an informed purchase? For example, consider her options of buying  wild or farmed fish? Seafood from the USA or from overseas? High trophic levels or closer to the base of food webs?  

Respond to your grandma (and the class) with at least 250 words by 11:59pm on October 27 and as usual, respond to at least two of your fellow students’ posts by 11:59pm on the 28th.


Homework due Thursday October 22

Before class on Thursday complete the following:

  1. Watch the documentary ‘Alaska Gold’about the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol BayLetters: Alaska Gold, over crowded salmon waters
  2. Watch my friend Jason Ching’s
    1. Pick 10 of the following Questions and turn in as a reply to this post:
      1. Briefly summarize the crux of the ecological issue regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay


      1. From Alaska Gold and Jason Ching’s Above Iliamna, what words might you use to describe the biological and physical setting in Bristol Bay? Do any of these words create challenges when considering the proposed Pebble Mine?



      1. What aspects of the specific form of mining and specific mineral being extracted is cause for concern for some scientist and environmental organizations?



      1. What aspects of the proposed specific location of the mine may reduce the potential impact and what may aggravate the effects?



      1. Which biological traits of sockeye salmon may make them resilient to these changes and which may make them sensitive?


      1. Briefly describe how Bristol Bay ranks in terms of wild salmon production compares to other locations



      1. Who owns the land proposed to be mined?


      1. Who is the Pebble Partnership?



      1. What types of streams would be directly impacted by the mine activity and why do they matter in the life history of salmon?


      1. What needs to be proven in Alaska in order for streams to have the highest level of protection from development?



      1. How long is it estimated that the mine will operate, how long would the foot print of the mine remain?



      1. Briefly describe the concerns by local residents that rely on subsistence resources and whether there is 100% agreement or debate? What things did you hear from the two ‘sides’ of the debate?



      1. According to McEvoy, the Pebble Mine project is likely or unlikely to be sustainable? What about according to Solow?



      1. Over 50% of the returning salmon to Bristol Bay are sustainably caught each year. Describe the logic of intentionally harvesting a population at about 50% of its unfished state in order to maximize catch into the future.


      1. If a person is opposed to the Pebble Mine and drives a hybrid vehicle (or anything that uses copper) does it make them a hypocrite? Why or why not?



      1. Describe how the Environmental Protection Agency became involved, what they found in their watershed assessment, and the response by different communities


      1. Under what federal Act would the EPA potential block construction of Pebble Mine?


FTT #6

The collapse of the Newfoundland cod industry should have taught us two things: that fishing should be regulated and that data can be misleading. The largest amount of the nails in the coffin of this fisheries is that the fishermen weren’t properly managed. When people first settled along the Eastern shores of North America, it was said that you could walk across the water on the backs of cod. Within a few hundred years, there were boats from all over the world fishing these cod, mostly off the coast of Newfoundland. These fisheries were poorly managed, especially with the technological advancements including freezer boats and sonar. The new technology made it easier to stay out longer without losing the fish and the sonar made finding fish easier than ever. Until the sixties, international fishing was allowed in Newfoundland and that was the worst decision because the international boats outnumbered the Canadian fleet. After these boats were no longer welcomed in Canadian waters, the damage had already been done. It took another 30 years to almost completely wipe out the cod with just local fishing. Fisheries managers were confusing data. Sometimes they were seeing hauls that said it was the end of the world for these cod, and other times is appeared that the cod were making a comeback somehow. Something that wasn’t factored for was the when and where. The larger hauls that the managers were seeing were happening during breeding season, when cod tend to mass together in huge schools that not only made them easier to find and catch, but also made the cod numbers seem much larger than they were. By the year 1992, cod had just about vanished from the waters off of Newfoundland. In conclusion, the two major things we should have learnt from the collapse of the cod fisheries in Newfoundland is that the fishermen should be managed and that the data should always be looked at with respect to factors that may not be openly represented on a graph. You could say that all of this is the manager’s faults, and you wouldn’t be wrong in any way.


Mt approach to studying in this class is a lot different then how I study for other classes. Fist off theres not really any homework you can go back and review on so I went to the class recording and skipped through to the parts that had the most information and just reviewed that. I also went to my notes and looked at those to remind myself of the small things I forgot.

FTT#3 Salmo Domesticus

Salmo Doemsticus: Domesticated Salmon

Salmo salar: Wild Salmon

Mart Gross, a conservation biologist is a person to raise recognition of a new species called “Salmo Domesticus” 1998,  He stated, “Domesticated salmon are about as different from wild salmon adogs are from wolves.” Like dogs, salmon have now become dependent on humans to survive.

This the first time I have heard the term “Salmo Domesticus” and my first thought was “must be talking about domesticated salmon.” As far as researching online I had a hard time locating articles using the term “Salmo Domesticus.”

The process started in Norway, a process that disrupted the wild salmon across the world. The process began to make salmon twice the size and grow faster therefore adding to the marketplace. The wild salmon gene is almost to extinction, farm-raised salmon are overtaking the wild salmon. Over the years I personally have seen salmon on the interior drop in size and numbers. Recently I was introduced to sea lice, a common problem in farm raising salmon.

It definitely is a curse to me, and how can it be solved?

When I look at both sides with an open mind I see that we can definitely put more salmon in the marketplace but at what cost?

Farming salmon is a risky business because it brings diseases from the hatchery to the open sea therefore spreading and harming wild salmon. Farming salmon erases the wild gene in the salmon and then what?

Salmon go to the sea to mature and when are done maturing and need to spawn then head to freshwaters to spawn. The curse lies in the removal of the wild genome and diseases that happen due to human failure.

FTT 9/30

My approach to studying is usually to read through my notes from whatever chapter/section a quiz is on and if needed, look up quizlets or make flashcards, although this isn’t that type of class. For this quiz I looked over my notes from all the past lectures, I usually go through them and highlight over things to remember them. There’s this tip I learned from my AP biology class in high school where you leave yourself questions in the margins of your notes when you’re taking them so that when you go back to study, you have ready made comprehension questions to go along with your read-through study routine. Another good method is to write a summary paragraph after your chapter/section notes to cement things in your brain by writing. Sorry this post is late, I didn’t know we had an assignment.