Fisheries Science and Techniques

January 26, 2001

Course Description: Fisheries Science and Techniques will offer experiences in fisheries stock management based on assessment of individual organisms and populations. Sampling techniques and gear employed in a variety of habitats will offer collecting and processing opportunities for several species of freshwater fishes. Limited experiences with marine fishes and invertebrates may be possible.

These samplings of local fish stocks and other exemplary data sets will then be analyzed as appropriate for sex ratios, age and growth, population age structure, reproductive capacity and success, recruitment, food habits, migrations, population estimates, and other aspects of fishery science and management. Weekend day trips will be scheduled to Portland Fish Exchange and to Long Cove, Searsport, to examine aspects of marine commercial fishing. Numerous activities will supplement class assignments. Service-learning will be formalized during classroom discussion, through experiential activities in the community, by contribution of data to fisheries management agencies, and with a reflective journal.

Course Objectives: The primary course objective is to expose students to the equipment, field situations, collecting techniques, laboratory procedures, data analyses, writing styles, research expectations, and frustrations of fishery science. Three secondary objectives are to discuss regional fisheries management practices and unique situations; to relate fisheries science to environmental, social, and political concerns; and to consider relationships between fishery science, fisheries management commercial and recreational fisheries, aquaculture, conservation of resources, public policy, and stewardship.

Assessment: The course grade for WF 3324 will develop from:
Subjective assessment 50%

Classroom participation
Laboratory exercises
Conduct of duties
Independent activities
Field data notebook
Manipulated data sets
Readings of literature

Quizzes 15

Home study assignments in portfolio 25
Service-learning Journal 10


Text: The recommended text is: Nielsen, L. A., and D. L. Fisheries Techniques. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. Pp. xi + 428.

Readings outside the recommended text will also be required. There is a selection of reserved reading in the library. Other readings will be presented in class. I expect you to continue, at least to begin, reading of professional fisheries or aquaculture journals.

Required Gear:

Wading boots – Suitable protection for weather, water quality, water temperature, electrofishing, and processing grime. Have your boots ready for the first day of class!

Coast Guard Approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) – To be worn at all times in watercraft or while electrofishing. Individuals with poor swimming skills may choose to wear a PFD at all times in or near the water. A PFD may also serve as a warm jacket.

Knife – A pocket or belt knife is necessary for a variety of tasks. Other pocket tools may also be useful.

Copy of collecting permit – Most field and laboratory exercises attempted in WF 3324 are allowed by collecting permits issued by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Department of Marine Resources to D. Potter and other faculty for conduct of duties at Unity College. Each student will be given a copy of each permit to show to enforcement officers if requested. Follow conditions of the permits! A valid Maine fishing license is required if any freshwater sport fishing is attempted as part of this class.

ASSESSMENT: Commentary:

Subjective Grading: Fifty percent of the grade for WF 3324 will develop from role playing. My subjective evaluation of you will be developed as if you were in the role of a new employee in my fisheries science, public information, and tourism firm, Megaleuctra Fisheries Consultants (MFC). I am the boss; I am always observing you as my employee.

Subjective evaluations will be made as if each student functions as a new employee with probationary appointment in the consulting firm until 17 December 1998. Then a decision, the course grade, will be tendered as if pending full, permanent, and unconditional employment. A list of items to be evaluated (the list is not necessarily comprehensive) includes any statement elsewhere in this syllabus as well as familiarity with state and federal sporting regulations; interaction with the public; attitude toward the environment; ability to follow and interpret verbal and written directions-, leadership and followership skills-, cooperation; attendance; participation in class activities; participation in class discussions; humor or surliness; attitudes towards supervisors, peers, supervises, guests, and others; review by peers-, promptness-, preparedness; preparation of assignments in a timely manner; usage of drugs, alcohol, profanity, and obscenity-, appearance; and actions as a representative of Unity College or MFC.

Professionalism and professional development are the attributes I seek in a good employee. The employee need not agree with my personal biases to earn a good subjective evaluation. I am interested in innovative ideas and creative thinking. Be aware of your own professional philosophy, perceptions of those about you, and justifications for choices and actions. Be the employee that you might wish to hire; then you will not need to be concerned with grades.

The questions that I will ask as I assign value to the subjective portion of the grade for WF 3324 are, "Do I want to retain the employee?" and "At what level do I retain the employee?"

I will assign subjective scores as:

Retain employee with added responsibility – A
Retain employee with daily supervision – B
Try employee in new tasks, suggest improved work habits, constant supervision – C
Suggest employee find alternative employment – D
Employee dismissed – F

I will speak to the class about group progress and anonymously about individual progress. I will speak to individuals regarding my concerns or their own concerns regarding individual progress. I will also speak directly to individuals as part of the larger group at any time for safety issues, poor attitude, inattention, and general advice. I will make examples, good or bad, of individuals when I believe those examples will be to the benefit of others. Do not be shy, bashful, or cocky, for this is a learning experience for everybody.

Seven laboratory exercises will explore sampling methodologies appropriate for fish collection and measurement. Two laboratory exercises will examine methods to determine habitat quality. Then students will be responsible during early November for planning, implementation, and evaluation of two laboratory exercises without faculty or staff assistance. One December exercise will be a visit to a state hatchery to examine egg incubation, brood stock, and fish to be stocked for sport harvest. The last two laboratory exercises will be laboratory bench studies of fishes collected earlier in the semester.

Conduct of Duties: That part of CONTRACT OF RESPONSIBILITIES: FIELD AND LABORATORY titled Duties lists routine responsibilities to be performed each laboratory session. Every individual need not, indeed cannot, perform every duty every laboratory, but it is each student's responsibility to determine that the activity is performed. Every student must perform each task at some time during the semester. The class will operate most efficiently if each task is performed several times by each student. Have your contract sheet initialed by D. Potter or his designated assistant to earn credit for duty.

Independent Activities: That part of CONTRACT OF RESPONSIBILITIES: FIELD AND LABORATORY titled Activities lists many of the opportunities that will be mentioned or offered in addition to the formal classroom and laboratory curriculum. None of the activities is required, yet I will expect participation at your choice as evidence that you are an employee worthy of retention.

Field data notebooks: You are to keep your individual field notes with records on time, location, conditions, weather, and sampling effort for each laboratory exercise.

At least once during the term each student will be responsible for recording routine data and other information for each sampled fish. These data on individual fish will include date, location, capture method, length, weight, sex, maturity, existing or newly applied marks, and other information. I will collect at the end of each laboratory session the handwritten field sheets prepared by each recorder for the day. I will photocopy each original for distribution during the next lecture. These photocopies of original field sheets must become part of each student's field data notebook.

Manipulated data sets: Each student will then have a copy of field data to convert to typed spreadsheet according to a general format presented in lecture. Progress toward completion of the typed data set may be determined at any time during the semester without notice. The final product will be a spreadsheet for all data for all individual fish sampled during the semester. Grades will be based on completeness of the data set for the entire semester, and the accuracy, format, and evidence of originality. Additional assignments will be based on data from field notes and the spreadsheets.

Readings of literature: The text by Nielsen and Johnson, and works by Carlander, Scott and Crossman, Scott and Scott, Balon, Ntills, and others are indispensable to your study and appreciation of fisheries science and techniques. Questions? Check the readings or the fisheries and aquaculture journals. I expect, based on past experience, that few of you read the peer reviewed literature pertinent to your profession. Start that habit now!

Tasks for Objective Grading:

Quizzes: You may expect 10 point quizzes at any time in the term. Quizzes will not be announced. Retakes or make-up of quizzes will not be permitted. However, I will calculate your final total quiz score for the term by dropping the two poorest quiz grades that you achieve. A single poor score or a missed quiz will not impact significantly on your total quiz points. Additional missed quizzes or poor quiz scores will indeed impact on your final achievement.

Home study assignments: Several individual projects based on interpretation of laboratory and field data will be assigned during the term. Other projects will be the responsibilities of the same groups that generate field data (maps for example). Timely presentation of products will be as important to development of a quality grade as the products themselves. However, I expect students to demonstrate their own levels of responsibility,, so no due dates will be mentioned.

All paper assignments will be graded immediately after submission on a scale 0-5. Zero or I are for unacceptable work: a failing grade. An immediate score of 2 or 3 indicates acceptable work with significant improvement necessary to demonstrate professional quality. Scores of 4 or 5 indicate good to excellent work with minor remediation necessary for A or B final grade on the assignment.

Final drafts of all paper submissions toward the course grade including contract sheets, home study assignments, spreadsheet(s), laboratory bench work, summaries of self-directed laboratories, service learning journal and any other documents will be submitted in a portfolio as soon as completed but no later than 1700 hrs 17 DEC 1998.

Service-Learning Journal: Service-learning is a perfect fit for Fisheries Science and Techniques, for our practical skills and discussions are intended to collect information and to provide training for the management of fisheries resources by cooperating state and federal agencies. Those fisheries resources are then appreciated and consumed by the public for personal enjoyment, economic enhancement, and other contributions to society.

Formal Service-learning is supported with classroom and laboratory activities for all students as part of the regular course activities. Most laboratory activities are conducted under permit and encouragement from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W) or Maine Department of Marine Resources (MDMR). Other community partners including Maine Department of Environmental Protection (I~MEP);, the local lake association for Unity Pond, Friends of Lake Winnecook (FOLW); a state lake association, Maine Congress of Lake Associations (MECOLA); and Maine Audubon Society (MAS) either contribute support or benefit from data collection by fisheries students. An optional service-learning assignment will be to develop a fisheries demonstration for delivery to local K- 12 classrooms.

Our data sets are submitted to MDIF&W and to MDMR as part of reporting and application for renewal of fish collecting and tagging permits. A few of our Duties, most of our Activities, and many class Assignments have a service-learning component. My responsibility is to encourage you to reflect on what we accomplish and why our lakeside activities are important to society. We will accomplish some goals of service-learning with classroom and laboratory discussions.

All students will keep a Service-Learning Journal. This Service-Learning Journal is to include regular and periodic entries about the impact of WF 3324 on your learning and life beyond the classroom.

Exams: There are no exams in WF 33 &24.

An Ethic: Philosophically I assume that you will need to be actively engaged in the pursuit of knowledge concerning this course. Learning will be through a variety of methods that will become apparent to you during the term.

If you expect to earn a top grade in the course, then you will need to devote a minimum of three hours outside class for each hour in lecture and for each two hours in laboratory. Those of you who do not expend adequate time or effort of suitable quality in pursuit of comprehension and interpretation of theory, concept, and skill will not do well.

WF 3324 will demand your attention, but it will not consume an inappropriate amount of your time. However, there are few options for you to be haphazard with your presentation of assignments, absent from class, or lackadaisical in your study habits. You will discover that you must accomplish tasks and accept opportunities if you expect success even at your own level of satisfaction. You cannot afford to let any assignment or duty slip.

I use teaching methods that I find to be effective for my purposes. Some methods are obvious though others are subtle. Some you will enjoy while a few you will intensely dislike. Some will suit all students, but I try methods on occasion that are effective only for certain learning styles.

Lake Winnecook Inventory
A Service-Learning Component
for WF 3324

Every student enrolled in WF 33 )24, individually or working with one other member of W´F 3324, will be responsible for one participation in the Lake Winnecook Inventory (LWI). This requirement will be coordinated by staff in the Office of Community Service (OCS) at the RANCH. Participation by WF 3324 students will be confirmed to me by OCS staff. Your initial training to conduct LWI will occur during the first laboratory session for WF 3324.

Your assignment for WF 3324 is to arrange with OCS staff your participation in the LWI and then to accompany an entering student as mutually agreed by you, the entering student, and OCS staff for a visit to the Kanokolus boat landing and trestle areas at Lake Winnecook (Unity Pond) (Twenty-five Mile Pond). You will be responsible for assuring appropriate data collection as indicated on the LWI data form, for assisting or training the entering student with data collection and entry, and for use and protocol of monitoring equipment. WF 33 24 students will retain primary responsibility for submission of LWI data, use and return of equipment in good condition, reporting entering student participation to OCS, and all other conditions established by OCS.

The Lake Winnecook Inventory is a new service-learning opportunity. This project will extend certain of the categories previously incorporated in Lake Winnecook studies conducted by fisheries classes in recent years. The LWI will be conducted at least once weekly year around starting in July 1998. Various classes or student groups will be responsible for weekly inventory to establish baseline conditions for lake characteristics, recreation usage, and wildlife activity as evident in the southern portions of the lake.

The LWI is to be conducted on and near the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, Town of Unity, and Unity College properties along Kanokolus Road between Ash Lane, the boat landing parking lots at Unity Pond (Lake Winnecook), and to Prairie Road. Wildlife observations may include visible portions of the marsh extending no farther north or west than to Prairie Road. This is a shore based inventory; boating is not required.

OCS will provide the following equipment: Data forms on clipboard Binoculars Dissolved oxygen kit (modified Winkler method) one kit from choice of pH, alkalinity, or phosphate Secchi disk and measuring implement Field guides as necessary

These items must be returned to OCS in good order immediately after any inventory.

Come to your first laboratory prepared to be in Twenty-five Mile Pond (also known as Unity Pond and Lake Winnecook) for collecting and handling of fish and for other aquatic sampling. Personal gear that you will need for the first and subsequent laboratories includes:

Wading boots: Wading boots of some sort will be absolutely necessary for certain activities. Boots will be useful and comfortable starting with your first laboratory session, but will not be an absolute necessity until October. Until then you may either wear boots or get legs and feet wet. You will get no sympathy if you suffer from contact with water in absence of boots, for I expect you to have your own adequate footwear. However, I do expect you to be in the water during every laboratory despite the adequacy of your footwear. Wading boots might be either hip boots or chest waders. Only on very few occasions will chest waders be more comfortable than hip boots, and on those occasions not every participant need be in such deep water. If you are not a fisherman or hunter with those additional needs for expensive boots, or if you have limited funds to purchase personal gear for class, a relatively inexpensive pair of hip boots will be adequate for the. dozen times you will need footwear for this class. I wore a $35. 00 pair of hip boots last fall and was adequately prepared for the class. Do choose rugged boots.

PFD: A Coast Guard Approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) must be worn at all times by any student in WF 3324 when in a boat or electrofishing as part of class activities. The college can provide to you a PFD for class activities, but your own gear will be best. Only buy this item if you will use it beyond class activities. You may wish to wear a PFD at all times if you are not comfortable in lakes and streams or if you are not a swimmer. Swimming ability is not a requirement of this class although perhaps swimming proficiency should be demonstrated.

Knife: A pocket or belt knife will be necessary for a variety of tasks. If you have one, great; if not get at least a $5.00 single blade pocket knife. Then learn to sharpen the blade and use the knife with introductory proficiency. Have the knife with you at all times during class activities.

Collecting permit: A copy of the current scientific collecting permit is included with this letter. I will explain conditions for your activities under the permit. If you choose to sport fish in freshwater, this permit will not cover your activities. If you choose to sport fish, even as part of responsibilities for this class, you must be in possession of a valid Maine fishing license.

Open water fishing regulations for Maine: I will expect you to have a copy of current open water fishing regulations as published by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W). This is a tool for this class. Quiz questions will come from this set of regulations as well as any other sets of regulations for fish, wildlife, or water quality as published by Maine state agencies.

Service-Learning: Required as a portion of regular academic responsibilities

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Fishing for Science

Unity College proposes to expand the service learning component of an existing course to include collaboration with science classes at two local elementary schools. The course, Fisheries Science and Techniques, is an experientially based course teaching students the fundamentals of fisheries management and fish handling as they collect fisheries data and perform water quality monitoring for ongoing research for two state agencies. The SEAMS grant will be used to develop a component linking Unity College students with students from the Pierce School in Belfast and Unity Elementary School in Unity.

During the spring semester of 1996, six Unity College students will be selected as programming leaders and will work with the course faculty to develop and implement educational programming for the elementary school students on basic fisheries science and management, water quality and fisheries data collection, natural resource management, land use policy making, and other related topics. Course objectives are to raise aspirations and expose elementary school students, especially female students, to careers in the sciences; to expose all students to the complex issues surrounding resources management and land use policy making; and strengthen Unity College students' skills and knowledge of fisheries management techniques.

Unity College programming leaders will pilot the activities in the participating elementary schools, evaluating the programming throughout the semester and receiving training in communications, facilitation, and mentoring. In the fall 1996 semester, the programming leaders will lead teams of Unity College students enrolled in Fisheries Science and Techniques in offering the programs to the participating elementary schools. The two other participating agencies, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, will provide special collection permits and will use the data collected in ongoing fisheries and water quality studies.

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