Facts and Fishes: Focus Area 5 Science, Yr 7

Industry Matters – Extension

This Focus Area has been designed as a set of extension activities to follow the previous four Focus Areas within the unit of work Facts and Fishes, or as a stand-alone lesson/s. The purpose of this lesson/s is to educate young minds about the human impact of commercial fishing and fish farming on our oceans. All activities have been designed with the intention of encouraging critical and creative thinking skills and should therefore act as catalysts for interesting and provocative discussions on the issues explored within the unit of work.

Time and Structure

1-2 lessons or approximately 100 minutes.


Year 7 gifted or high ability students.
Year 8-10 students of all abilities.

Unit Focus

Question  whether our treatment of fishes reflects what we know about them.
Consider  the different views on this issue and decide for yourself where you stand.
Discuss  with your friends, family, classmates and teachers. Debating complex issues is healthy and helpful.

Voiceless Resources

Other Resources

Sylvia Earle, My Wish: Protect Our Oceans, 2009, www.ted.com

Inquiry Questions

  • In what ways does commercial fishing and fish farming impact our oceans?
  • Should we be rethinking our relationship with fishes?

Suggested Learning Activities


Read though the Fact Sheet The Watery World of Fishes and view the accompanying resources for this unit of work, as required.


Discuss the use of fishes by industries.

Refer to Pages 11-12 of The Watery World of Fishes.

Commercial Fishing and Fish Farming

  • Students compare and contrast the two modes of industry fishing – using the evidence provided on Page 11.
  • Students watch oceanographer, Sylvia Earle’s Ted Talk: My Wish: Protect Our Oceans (18 Minutes).

Stop and pause the video a few times to allow for students to answer the questions. Allow time for discussion after, if required.


Ted Talk Viewing Questions (Worksheet available)

  1. Earle makes the comparison of our world to the ‘World Bank’ – what does she mean by this?
  2. Why is the ocean so important? Note down as many points as possible that Earle raises in her speech.
  3. What impact does excess carbon dioxide have on our environment, human beings, and the sea?
  4. What is the shocking statistic to do with ‘by-catch’?
  5. What’s the good news?
  6. How much of the world’s land is protected to safeguard biodiversity?
  7. How many places in the world can you find natural marine sanctuaries?
  8. In which countries/continents is the land protected, but not the sea?
  9. Earle frequently uses the metaphor of a ‘life support system’ – what point is she trying to make?
  10. What does Earle say ‘we need’ to do?

​​​​3. DISCUSS

Facilitate a class discussion on the points below:

As the science shows, fishes are social, sophisticated and smart. Most importantly, there is overwhelming evidence that fishes are sentient.

  • Did you find any of this information surprising or new?
  • If so, how should this information affect our relationship to fishes?


Sharing Solutions

Students to complete a written reflection on the issues pertaining to the use of fishes by industries and human beings.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. “Fish account for nearly 97 per cent of all animals slaughtered for food globally” (pg. 16, Voiceless Fact Sheet). Considering what you have read and viewed during this lesson/s, what do you think about this statistic? Were you surprised by this statistic? Why do you think many people may not realise how many fish are slaughtered globally for human consumption?
  2. It can be overwhelming to think about how the animals of the sea are suffering due to actions of human beings. What small steps can you take to help combat this issue?

Listening Comprehension

You may need to play the podcast twice so students have time to both listen and respond.

Up next, formative assessment suggestions.

We hope that you have enjoyed using our teacher and student resources for this APE on Facts and Fishes.

We are always looking to improve our educational resources, please get in contact with us if you would like to provide some feedback on this APE, including how it was received by your students.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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