When Will the Herring Fisheries Open?
A15, Level 4
Students recommend a management strategy to solve a local problem
related to resource utilization such as fish and game, building
permits, mineral rights. and land use policies.
Key Concepts and
- The opening of commercial fisheries is directly correlated
to herring sexual maturation, as measured by roe percent.
- Herring maturation is correlated to several major environmental
factors, including surface water temperature, weather, wind, tides,
roe percents, projected age, and so on.
- Microscopic examination of fish scales provides clues related
to the age of fish.
- Weather and tides affect the time of spawning.
- Arithmetic skills include percent calculation and metric-to-American
One week in early spring to design and setup experiments followed
by weekly monitoring (about 1/2 hour per week) from mid-March
to the end of school.
Students design class research project that will investigate
the factors used to estimate when Alaska herring fisheries will
open. Each student on the team is responsible for monitoring data
related to the factor or factors in which they become subject
matter experts. Each student team is responsible for collecting
information and data relevant to a fishery within the state.
- Access to previous harvest records including quantity and time
of harvest, water temperatures, age-class outbreak of herring
harvest, and stock.
- Access to Internet information on weather and herring fisheries.
Collect samples of fish of specific ages; examine fish scales
using a hand lens and microscope; draw your observations; write
a generalization that can be used to determine the age of a herring
using microscopic observations of herring scales.
Check for student understanding by examining drawings and generalizations
made about the appearance of scales and age of the fish.
Interview Elders, local fishermen, and knowledgeable outdoorsmen;
discuss how they predict the arrival of herring and time of spawning.
How did they learn to look for these predicting signs? How close
do their predictions usually come to actual fishery opening dates?
What is the outcome when their prediction dates are wrong? What
kind of window of correct prediction is important
After consultations, form teams of 34 students and assign
a specific herring factory to each. Based on the factory location,
the group decides which factors will play the primary role in
predicting the opening date of the fishery. Each student on the
team will become the subject-matter expert for one or more factors.
Use a variety of research resources to collect information about
the variables being studied (for example, Internet, Fish and Game
Department, National Oceanographic and Aeronautic Association
(NOAA) records, meteorological records and so on).
Based on research each team will predict the herring fishery
Each team will develop a list of factors they will use to estimate
the opening for each fishery being considered. Each team member
is responsible for monitoring the factor or factors which they
are expert in. Based on their factors they will monitor statewide
weather conditions to estimate the openings of the fisheries.
Student predictions will be compared to actual openings. Based
on the results of their site, teams modify their hypothesis and
factors for subsequent fishery openings.
Level of Performance
|| Student research incorporates multiple sources of
information. Data collected is extensive, and relevant to the conditions
at the assigned fishery site. Student work demonstrates extensive
evidence of knowledge related to environmental problem solving.
|| Student research incorporates several sources of information.
Data collected is relevant to the conditions at the assigned fishery
site. Student work demonstrates some evidence of knowledge related
to environmental problem solving. Minor misconceptions may be evident.
| Student research uses limited sources of information.
Data collected is relevant to the conditions at the assigned fishery,
but lack detail. Students work demonstrates limited evidence of knowledge
related to environmental problem solving. Student work may be incomplete,
incorrect, lacking detail, or contain errors of reasoning.
Students research may be on topic, but is limited in scope. Data
shows little or no evidence relating to the assigned fishery site.
Students work is largely incomplete, incorrect, and may show major
Department of Education & Early Development Standards)
Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. The interrelationships
and interdependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems
that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years. (Page 186)
Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of
infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This
fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between
organisms. (Page 186)
Human beings live within the worlds ecosystems. Increasingly,
humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology,
and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct
harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors
is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed,
ecosystems will be irreversibly affected. (Page 186)
Human populations use resources in the environment in order
to maintain and improve their existence. Natural resources have
been and will continue to be used to maintain human populations.
Humans use many natural systems as resources. Natural systems
have the capacity to reuse waste, but that capacity is limited.
Natural systems can change to an extent that exceeds the limits
of organisms to adapt naturally or humans to adapt technologically.
Natural ecosystems provide an array of basic processes that
affect humans. Those processes include maintenance of the quality
of the atmosphere, generation of soils, control of the hydrologic
cycle, disposal of wastes, and recycling of nutrients. Humans
are changing many of these basic processes, and the changes may
be detrimental to humans. (Page 198)
Materials from human societies affect both physical and chemical
cycles of the earth. (Page 198)
The variation of organisms within a species increases the likelihood
that at least some members of the species will survive under changed
environmental conditions. A great diversity of species increases
the chance that at least some living things will survive in the
face of large changes in the environment. (Page 105)
Ecosystems can be reasonably stable over hundreds or thousands
of years. As any population of organisms grows, it is held in
check by one or more environmental factors: depletion of food
or nesting sites, increased loss to increased numbers of predators,
or parasites. If a disaster such as flood or fire occurs, the
damaged ecosystem is likely to recover in stages that eventually
result in a system similar to the original one. (Page 117)
Human beings are part of the earths ecosystems. Human
activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium
in ecosystems. (Page 117)
Alaska Science Content
Standard Key Element
student who meets the content standard should use science to understand
and describe the local environment (Local Knowledge).
Content and Performance Standards: A4, B3, D2, and D3.