AP Environmental Science : Fishing

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Fishing

Which of the following have been affected by overfishing?

Possible Answers:

Shark fishing across the globe

Cod fishing in Newfoundland

Overfishing has affected each of the other answer choices.

King Crab fishing in Alaska

Crab fishing in the Chesapeake region

Correct answer:

Overfishing has affected each of the other answer choices.

Explanation:

Overfishing is prevalent all over the globe in almost every body of water, from the highest levels of the food chain to the lowest.

Example Question #2 : Fishing

What percent of the world's fisheries are currently overexploited or exploited to their fullest capacity?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

In 2015, 80% of worldwide fisheries are either harvested at their fullest capacity or are being overexploited. This pattern will reduce sustainable fish harvests over the long run and poses a serious threat to the future of ocean ecosystems and the fishing industry.

Example Question #3 : Fishing

A coastal inlet is currently experiencing an overpopulation of phytoplankton. Which of the following is a likely culprit of this phenomenon?

Possible Answers:

Illegal whaling ships operating miles offshore

Overfishing of tuna populations to meet demand for canned tuna

Agricultural activity on the nearby shore that has declined significantly in recent years

Overharvesting and "finning" of sharks to feed demand in Asia

Overfishing of coastal herring and sardine populations

Correct answer:

Overfishing of coastal herring and sardine populations

Explanation:

Herring and sardines are low trophic-level species that consume mainly phytoplankton. With a diminished local herring and sardine populations, phytoplankton blooms are a likely outcome. Sharks and tuna eat species higher on the trophic level, namely fish like herring or sardines. Whales eat krill and phytoplankton, but are usually offshore and migratory. Of the provided examples, herring and sardines have the most significant impact on phytoplankton populations.

Example Question #3 : Fishing

Which of the following is NOT a destructive aspect specific to trawling?

Possible Answers:

Trawling equipment is dragged along the seafloor, kicking up sediment in the process that disturb marine flora and wildlife communities.

Species not intended to be caught, such as dolphins, get caught in the nets and often die.

Marine animals not intended to be caught get hooked by lines set out to catch target species.

Drag nets harvest large numbers of fish on a scale that cannot be done with sustainable pole fishing. This massive rate of harvest is responsible for declining fisheries worldwide.

Trawling equipment is dragged along the seafloor, damaging coral reefs and other crucial habitat.

Correct answer:

Marine animals not intended to be caught get hooked by lines set out to catch target species.

Explanation:

Trawling employs the use of a large net that is dragged along the ocean floor, but typically no hooks or fishing line is used. A result of drift line fishing, a different harvest method altogether, is that dolphins, sharks and other species not intended to be caught are caught on hooks and die from it.

Example Question #4 : Fishing

Which of the following best exemplifies the Tragedy of the Commons in modern fishing techniques?

Possible Answers:

Commercial fishing vessels traveling to areas with large populations of profitable fish and harvesting in abidance with local and state harvest limits. 

Subsistence fishermen off the coast of Somalia that fish on a small scale to support their families. 

Commercial fishing vessels migrate quickly to areas with large fish populations, harvesting as much as possible before other fishing companies harvest all the fish themselves. 

Atlantic Cod populations were decimated in the early 1990s and today there are strict regulations on Atlantic cod fishing, resulting in small-scale recreational fishermen harvesting sustainably.

Many subsistence fishermen off the coast of Somalia cannot sustain their livelihood due to competition by larger foreign commercial fishing vessels. 

Correct answer:

Commercial fishing vessels migrate quickly to areas with large fish populations, harvesting as much as possible before other fishing companies harvest all the fish themselves. 

Explanation:

The Tragedy of the Commons is the idea that individuals do not view a resource as a common good and will exploit it to the best of their ability, which, when done by everybody, depletes the resource. The modern commercial fishing practice of overfishing to maximize one's individual gains is a prime example of the Tragedy of the Commons. 

Example Question #5 : Fishing

Bottom trawling is a fishing method used to catch shrimp and is very detrimental to ecosystems. Not only does it result in the destruction of the sea floor, it also produces tons of unnecessary __________.

Possible Answers:

pollution

bycatch

currents

algal blooms

Correct answer:

bycatch

Explanation:

Bycatch refers to the catching of any species other than the target species during fishing. While most sorts of fishing produce some sort of pollution, this is not the best answer since it is not unique to bottom trawling.

Example Question #6 : Fishing

Which of these is a drawback to fish farming?

Possible Answers:

The ocean is allowed to recover from damage due to fishing gear

By-catch must be thrown back

Lots of waste is produced

Wild populations get a chance to rebound

Catching farmed fish is easier than catching wild fish

Correct answer:

Lots of waste is produced

Explanation:

Fish farming is seen as an alternative to wild-caught fish and thought to give wild populations a chance to rebound, both in commercial species and in by-catch species and also to let the wild ocean recover from damage done by fishing gear. However, fish farms produce a great deal of waste, and do habitat damage where they are located.

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