Fisheries Ecology

Choose a species harvested commercially in Oregon today. Research its life cycle and known habitat. Write a booklet introducing young children to the animal and its relationship to its environment.

Explore the historic catch, the traditions regarding fishing and fishing sites, the trade network, the preservation and use of fishes, and the ceremonies of the Columbia River and coastal Native American tribes. Prepare a report on their relationship with the salmon, on which they were spiritually and materially dependent.

Consider the importance of estuaries, one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet, in Oregon fisheries. Review the impacts of fill and dredge operations, logging and building roads, and other activities that result inpollution. Prepare a Users Guide to an Estuary that details how to preserve the integrity of the system, and the reasons for doing so.

Learn to distinguish among the major kinds of fish harvested in Oregon. Prepare a display board that explains their life cycles and their known food items.

Research the structure and function of the Columbia River ecosystem,7 and major activities impacting salmon in the Columbia River Basin.8 Create a concept map that elucidates changes that have occurred in the Basin since European settlement, and the impacts of these changes on the system, on salmon, and on other species.

Explore the ocean food web, as it is now understood. Role play a discussion between a person who fishes for tuna and one who fishes for squid. (Note that some species of squid are a major food item of tuna.) Be sure to consider both short- and long-term objectives.

Start a scrapbook of the work of watershed councils in Oregon,9 as reported in local and regional newspapers. Prepare an annotated bibliography of the development and results of their work, and of stream restoration projects generally. Computerize the information so that it can be updated each year.

Review the definition of a resource. Often the word is used to designate something of use or a commodity. How would you define the fisheries resource in a way that takes into account the conditions needed to sustain the resource, and what it means to the people who work the resource?

Go to a stream and watch a salmon run. Spend time at a fishing port or a traditional Native American fishing site.

7Start with a summary, such as that provided by Wilkinson (1992) or in River of Ghosts, (A Special Report. The Sunday Oregonian. October 29, 1995).

8Today resource managers frequently refer to these areas as the "four H's" Habitat in the tributaries, manistem, estuary and ocean; over-Harvest; Hatchery programs and operations; and the Hydropower system.

9In addition to Snake River chinook and sockeye in the upper reaches of the Columbia River Basin tributaries, coho, which live primarily in small coastal stream systems, are in trouble over much of their historic range, and some stocks of steelhead have been listed.

Map of teacher's on-line resource.

Innovation and Change
Extensions to student activities on advances in the technology and techniques of fishing.