Fisheries Technology- Beginning the Course

The Fisheries Technology dual enrollment course kicked off this March during the first elective phase of the semester. After meeting their UAS professor Lauren Wild, the students were introduced to fisheries in general as well as salmon, crab, and halibut fisheries in Alaska through their online video lectures. The online video lectures thoroughly cover a diverse array of topics including fish biology and life cycles, fishing vessels and seasons, fisheries management practices and agencies, conservation topics, and more.

To make the course more engaging and relevant to our students, HIA Environmental has been working with Hoonah City School’s Fisheries Technology teacher Rachel Priser and Miguel Contreras to coordinate activities, guest speakers, and field trips to supplement course material. We started by playing a natural resource management game to teach the tragedy of the commons, and watched the movie “Artifishal” that described the many perspectives on and issues related to salmon hatcheries in Alaska. We also joined USFS Fish Biologist Neal Schoenfelder at the harbor to discuss the different types and uses of fishing vessels found here in Hoonah.

Later in the week, HIA’s Cultural Specialist Darlene See came into the class to share the Tlingit Salmon Boy story and talk about respect with the students. It’s important to show respect to all living and nonliving things, especially when we depend so heavily on them!

The students got a little slimy while applying their newly-acquired salmon biology knowledge during a salmon dissection with Neal and science teacher Alex Tannehill. It was great to see them apply their knowledge and identify different body parts like the heart, liver, spleen, and stomach, and even find little treasures like the otolith bone! Thank you again to Neal and Hoonah’s Cold Storage for making this salmon dissection possible! Participating in hands-on activities around course material helps the students learn and is more fun.

The following week the class got to learn about commercial fishing from Stan Savland, a local professional fisherman. He shared some of his commercial fishing experiences, how he got into the industry, and what to expect as a commercial fisherman. We even got to take a tour of his vessel and equipment on the Chikamin! Thank you Stan for adding an invaluable experience to the Fisheries Technology course!

PhD researcher and fisheries policy professional Elizabeth Figus joined the Fisheries Technology course to talk about Alaska’s fishing policies and regulations around salmon and halibut. She gave an in-depth presentation on how various policy processes work and how locals can get involved while the students played her fisheries management Bingo using fishing terms from her discussion. Thank you Elizabeth for giving such a unique perspective to the students!

To prepare for their first exam before spring break, students played a Fisheries Technology Jeopardy that covered some material from their first unit. Taking an online college course in high school isn’t easy, but we’re thankful for UAS, Hoonah City Schools, and local and nonlocal participants that give students this unique opportunity to learn about fisheries technology from so many perspectives! Not only can it help them in their pursuit of higher education, but it can lead to some cool careers on topics students are passionate about. Thank you to everyone who’s made this course possible so far! We look forward to continuing the Fisheries Technology course when the elective phase recommences in April.

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