Initial Publication Date: August 12, 2008

Plenty of Fish in the Sea?


Image courtesy of NOAA.

Have you ever heard the saying, "there are plenty of fish in the sea"? While there are in fact a lot of fish in the sea, there may no longer actually be plenty of fish in the sea.

In the first part of this investigation, you will watch several short videos and read a short article to introduce you to some of the ways that declining fish populations came to be, what fishing management and sustainable catches mean, and how the U.S. established fisheries to monitor fishing. In Part B, you will explore how the increase in the global number of fishing vessels and the ability for fishing to take place over more of the global ocean by more people than ever before led to a decline in the numbers of fish available. Finally, in Part C, you will learn about how fish are used after they're caught - both for food and non-food uses.

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

  • explain some of the ways humans are affected by the declining health and productivity of fisheries;
  • explain some of the basic rules governing U.S. fisheries;
  • evaluate changes over time in global marine catch by visual inspection of an animated sequence of data maps; and
  • discuss how fish are used globally.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.

Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.