Appendix 1: Engineering a Solution to Overfishing Student Handout
Name: _________________________________________________ Period: _____________
Background: For years, our unsustainable fishing practices have been depleting our oceans of fish and destroying fragile and
valuable marine ecosystems along the way. In this activity, you and your group will undergo the engineering design process
steps to come up with your own, creative and unique solution to address a small component of the global overfishing problem.
You must consider economic, social and cultural impacts of both your problem and your accompanying solution. You will
design a prototype of your solution and present it to the class. Your presentation will be modeled after a pitch your group
would make to an agency such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) who might be interested in funding your design
and creating the product.
Problems: The following is a list of overfishing-related problems. You and your group of no more than 4 individuals will choose
one of the following to be the focus of your research and your solution:
• Bycatch of marine turtles
• Bycatch of marine mammals
• Increased algal growth on coral reefs
• Devastation of habitat by trawling
• Ghost fishing
• Illegal and unregulated catch amounts
• Lack of protection/regulation of Marine Protected Areas
• Eutrophication of aquaculture farms
• Antibiotics in fish in aquaculture farms
• Aquaculture taking up too much coastal space
• Bycatch from purse seines
• Bycatch from trawling
• Bycatch from longlines
• Bycatch from gill nets
The process: You will then work through the steps of the engineering design process to create your solution:
1. Ask/Empathize Part 1: Identify the Needs and Constraints – Identify the need for improvement within your given conservation issue and identify constraints that currently exist.
2. Research the Problem/Empathize Part 2 – Conduct research on:
(a) The social impact of your problem. For instance, how will this problem affect different cultures in different areas of
the world if left untreated?
(b) The economic impact of your problem. For instance, what is the cost to fishermen if this problem continues? What is
the cost to the country in terms of goods/services/travel losses if the problem worsens?
(c) The ecological impact of your problem. For instance, what species/habitat could we potentially lose if this problem