Recently, the tank at the Sai Kung fish market in Hong Kong was seen spotted with unusual creatures. Buyers chose from live mantis shrimp, sea snails, lobsters, clams, and arrays of fish and had them cooked on the spot.
There are various kinds of seafood available under the sun and many of them are endangered or illegally caught. Savannah Kinzer, a fourth-year student at Northeastern University, with the help of a student from the University of Hong Kong, spoke with one of the fishermen about what he thinks about government regulations and the future of the fishing industry.
The fisherman was positive about the government regulations as he thought it was required, but at the same time, he didn’t want government intervention. The students observed that government regulations won’t change anything. Local people are required to adopt a solution themselves and make them believe that it was their idea.
Some students, along with Savannah Kinzer, went on a trip to Hong Kong and Malaysia to study the challenges facing coastal communities around the world and tackle these issues.
Brian Helmuth, a professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University, says, “Anything that happens on land is immediately impacting the ocean ecosystem. And anything happening in the ocean is immediately impacting the coastal community”. Thus, it’s necessary to tackle this crucial issue by observing people’s behaviour towards coastal issues.
The goal of the course for the students is to see how people respond to coastal communities. It was observed that people are the same all over the world. They all feel some sense of connection with the ocean for their livelihood.
The students also explored tidal habitats and took samples from the harbour. They visited an oyster hatchery and an aquaculture facility, which provides an alternative way for fishermen to make money as they are losing their livelihood due to the depleting fishing stocks.
The students also studied the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, exploring the coast from Massachusetts to Canada, including touring the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. It discharges treated water into the ocean. The students compiled their experiences into videos intended to help non-scientists to comprehend the effect of treated water.
A large part of this course was effective communication. Scientists are doing great. However, if we can’t talk about it with the people who need to hear it, all these research works will be in vain.