Environmental Oceanography: Topics and Analysis
For Students

Issues Questions

Please read each question below and type your response into each corresponding box. When you are finished, fill out your name, e-mail address, and instructor's e-mail at the bottom of this form, and click submit to send a copy to your instructor.

1:  Do you think that the U.S. government, or the fi shing industry, “manages” fi sheries? If you answered yes, discuss whether it is your impression that the United States manages fi sheries in a way that strikes “a balance between what is biologically necessary and what is economically reasonable.” If not, do you think fi sheries should be managed? Why?

2:  On the axes below, or on our website (http://www.jbpub.com/ abel/), graph the catch data for the three species in Table 18-1. What trends did you observe?

3:  On the axes below or on our website (http://www.jbpub.com/abel/), plot three separate lines: aquaculture production, capture production, and total production (which you must fi rst calculate) for the years 1950–2007.

4:  Calculate the percentage increase in aquaculture, capture, and total marine production for the 16-year period from 1990 to 2007.

5:  What do you conclude from your plots and your calculations?

6:  Are the previous statements consistent with the trends you just observed and the conclusions of the U. S. Commission on Ocean Policy report? Explain your answer.

7:  Calculate the per capita fi sh supply (i.e., the number of kg per person) from 1950 to 2007, and then fill in the appropriate column in Table I 18-2. Recall that 1 tonne 1,000 kg.

8:  On the axes below, or on our website (http://www.jbpub.com/ abel/), plot a graph of per capita fi sh supply (in kg/person) for the period 1950 to 2007.

9:  Describe any trends in your graph.

10:  With global population growing at about 1.15% per year, do you think that capture fi sheries can supply ever-increasing demand on fi sh stocks of a burgeoning human population? Have we reached “peak fi sh” production? Justify your answer. What assumption(s) did we use in formulating this question?

11:  Suggest and discuss ways to make fi sheries sustainable.

12:  Do you think that the total fi sh production was equitably distributed globally. In other words, do you think that fi shery production moved more in the direction of economic demand or nutritional need? Explain your answer.

13:  Discuss whether you think commercial fi shers’ move to these new offshore and deeper environments is a good idea.

14:  Capture fi sheries have been described as “a race to catch the last fi sh.” Discuss whether you agree or disagree with this assessment.

15:  Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and former director of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has said, “People who want to make a difference can choose not to eat fi sh that are more important swimming alive in the ocean than swimming in lemon slices and butter.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

16:  Many nations provide heavy subsidies to their fi shing industries. Discuss what you think the impact of rising energy (i.e., fuel and refrigeration) costs might be on world fi sheries.

17:  When you buy seafood or eat seafood at a restaurant, have any of your choices been labeled as “MSC-certifi ed” or “sustainable”? Do you think most consumers would preferentially buy or eat seafood so marked? Explain your answer.

18:  Global fi sheries has been called a modern Tragedy of the Commons, referring to the situation in which there is open access to limited resources (fi sh stocks). Stake holders (in this case fi shers), believing that others will use the resource if they do not maximize their own use invariably deplete the resource. Discuss whether you think that partitioning the oceans into privately held sections would solve this problem.

19:  Make a list of the seafood you have eaten in the past week or two. Then using the information at the website http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/ seafoodwatch.asp, fi ll in Table I 18-3 here or on our website (http://www.jbpub .com/abel/).

20:  Based on your seafood chart, analyze whether your diet was seafood–friendly and was a part of sustainable fi sheries or whether it contained seafood whose capture or culture had an adverse environmental impact.

21:  What is the purpose of the research biologist Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University is conducting?

22:  What are his fi ndings?

23:  Why does Myers say that removing the big fi sh is a threat to the survival of entire species?

24:  Why are problems compounded by the longline fl eet?

25:  What is Myers’ “one solution” to the problem?

26:  Identify some of the consequences of the extinction of large pelagic fi shes.

27:  Why do fi shers and government scientists fi nd Myers’ plan unrealistic? Explain whether you think all fi shers and government scientists fi nd Myers’ plan unrealistic.

28:  What is your reaction to Mike Sissenwine’s statement that Myers’ plan is “a social and economic choice that society makes, not scientists?”

29:  Discuss whether you think Sissenwine’s statement that this issue is “not about luxury white table cloth products but is about survival” is fair and accurate.

30:  John Sackton, president of Seafood.com, argues that sustaining a fi shery can be done even if the larger adults are lost, as long as the fi sh get a chance to reproduce before they are caught. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of his argument.

31:  What approaches would you take to ensure recovery and survival of the large predatory fi sh discussed in this report?

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