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SEA Currents: SEASCape

July 05, 2019

Fisheries and beaches and knowledge oh my!

Tabitha Maffucci & Isabelle Hales, Housatonic Valley Regional High School & Isabelle Hales Bishop O’Dowd High School

SEA Semester

Above: Beach free time; below: C watch fisheries activity during Oceans and Society class

Today, we awoke at a prompt 7:15 am and strolled out to breakfast. It was a warm morning and we ate freshly cooked eggs from the comfort of our home. For our Oceanography class we had a guest speaker named Sarah Weiss. She taught us all about sound and how it affects the ocean. It was absolutely one of my favorite classes so far! I had never known that the boats on the ocean were producing such harmful sounds that was negatively affecting the animals living in the ocean. Apparently, about 80% of animals have had some sort of hearing loss. However, not all hope is lost!

After lunch, we did an activity for our Oceans and Society class to better understand the challenges for fisheries with balancing both economic and environmental interests. We walked in to find the tables covered in candy. The chocolate pebbles represented the marine habitat, the goldfish represented juvenile fish, while the Swedish fish represented fish that we were able to catch, and we used gummy worms and rainbow stripes to represent the bycatch (which includes both animals and plants).

My team had the strategy of trying to conserve the environment at the beginning and ensure our fish populations would last throughout the activity. In the end, our  strategy was not successful and we ended up making the least amount of money out of all the teams. At free time, many people went to the beach and a few took a walk through the nearby gardens to enjoy the fresh air. I walked to a nearby beach, where some people swam. It was nice to enjoy outside and take a break to spend time near the ocean. We came back for dinner and enjoyed fresh pasta and salad, along with juicy plums.

For our late night activity we watched a movie called Sonic Sea. This movie went more in depth on the way that people are abusing sonic sounds and causing whales to become beached and die. Their habitats are being taken over by an unbearably loud sound, causing internal bleeding of the mammals ear drums. Without sound, whales have no way to find food, attract a mate, tract their families when separated, and locate predators. With the darkness that is the ocean, whales, dolphins and other mammals rely on their hearing to understand their surroundings.

I am inspired by the idea of trying to find a way to make the engines of oil operated boats quieter. One way of doing this is to just take things slow. For more information of how you can help, visit

- Tabitha Maffucci from Housatonic Valley Regional High School and Isabelle Hales Bishop O’Dowd High School

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