Udubia is a state located off of the coast of Washington.  It consists of 3 islands surrounded by kelp forests, sandy bottoms, rocky and shell reefs, and deep canyons.  Three of the islands are inhabited: Tacominone, Bothellia, and Sea Lattle.  The main industries of Udubia are tourism, fishing, shipping, kelp harvesting, aquaculture (oysters), a little bit of industrial manufacturing, and film making (there is a small movie studio in Odegaard on Sea Lattle).  Most tourists come for hiking, diving, recreational fishing, kayaking, and surfing.  There is a Cruise Ship Terminal on Sea Lattle where ships come into port.  These tourists usually stay near the terminal for their short port stay on the way to Alaska, sometimes touring the movie studio.  There is an upscale marina, called Pratt Yacht Harbor, on the north coast of Tacominone.  This area is known for expensive real estate.  The major port for the state is located in Woodruff on Tacominone.  The Husky Tribe has important tribal lands on Bothellia.  They currently have exclusive and unlimited rights of harvest in their area.

Due to its location, Udubia is an important breeding location for the northeastern Pacific population of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus).  Seals are protected under the national Marine Mammal Protection Act.  There is an endangered snail, the Chihuly glass-shelled snail (note: not a real species), within the waters of Udubia, that tends to be found in muddy habitats at 100-200 meters depth.  This snail was aggressively collected for decades for its beautiful shell, but collection has been banned for the past 13 years.  It is protected under the Endangered Species Act. 

A map of Udubia1 is attached including: towns, ports, tribal lands, sewage pipes, bottom types, kelp forests, prevailing currents, distribution of endangered species, and seal rookeries.  The whole area has been divided into a grid for management and study.  All data is provided as referenced to this grid with 1-20 down the vertical axis and A-NN across the horizontal.  Each square measures 5 km by 5 km.  In addition, Udubia’s progressive government has invested heavily in inventory and monitoring.  Existing data is provided about the following:

  • Fisheries landings
    • Spiny lobsters (Panulirus interruptus)
    • Pacific ocean perch (POP, Sebastes alutus)
    • Rockfish (excluding POP, Sebastes spp.)
    • Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana, Macrocystis pyrifera, M. integrifolia, Porphyra spp., and a variety of other brown and red seaweeds)
    • Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)
    • Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
    • Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)
  • Shannon Diversity Index of indicator taxa
  • Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) census data

After the monitoring program detected a few bad fishing years in a row, Udubia decided to take action.  During the next few weeks, the legislature of the state of Udubia will debate and pass State Bill TESC232, the Udubia Marine Ecosystem Protection Act (UMEPA).  The purpose of this law is to establish a place-based conservation approach for the coastal areas of this island state.  A network of marine reserves will be established under UMEPA.  In this exercise, you will participate in the public process to form this network.

Under UMEPA, a network is to be established that protects somewhere between 20-50% of the submerged lands within the coastal zone of the state in marine protected areas (MPAs).  The reserves will be set up using the existing grid—so a 25 square kilometer square is managed as a complete unit.  These MPAs can be zoned for different levels of protection including2:

State Marine Reserve
Restrictions: it is unlawful to injure, damage, take or possess any living, geological or cultural marine resource, except under a permit or specific authorization from the managing agency for research, restoration or monitoring purposes. While, to the extent feasible, the area shall be open to the public for managed enjoyment and study, the area shall be maintained to the extent practicable in an undisturbed and unpolluted state. Therefore, access and use (such as walking, swimming, boating and diving) may be restricted to protect marine resources.

Allowable uses: research, restoration and monitoring may be permitted by the managing agency. Educational activities and other forms of non-consumptive human use may be permitted by the designating entity or managing agency in a manner consistent with the protection of all marine resources.

State Marine Park
Restrictions: it is unlawful to injure, damage, take or possess any living or nonliving marine resources for commercial exploitation purposes. Any human use that would compromise protection of the species of interest, natural community or habitat, or geological, cultural or recreational features, may be restricted by the designating entity or managing agency.

Allowable uses: all other uses are allowed, including scientific collection with a permit, research, monitoring and public recreation (including recreational harvest, unless otherwise restricted). Public use, enjoyment and education are encouraged, in a manner consistent with protecting resource values.

State Marine Conservation Area
Restrictions: it is unlawful to injure, damage, take or posses any specified living, geological or cultural marine resources for certain commercial, recreational, or a combination of commercial and recreational purposes. In general, any commercial and/or recreational uses that would compromise protection of the species of interest, natural community, habitat or geological features may be restricted by the designating entity or managing agency.

Allowable uses: research, education and recreational activities, and certain commercial and recreational harvest of marine resources may be permitted.

UMEPA will be passed and signed by the governor.  The Udubia Board of Fisheries Commissioners will hold a pubic hearing to hear public proposals for a network of MPAs under UMEPA from stakeholders.  The stakeholders must present their plans as a group and answer questions from the Commissioners and other stakeholders.

1-- The background data (including the island shapes, the bathymetry, the bottom types, and the currents) is based on the real California Channel Islands.  Everything else is unique to Udubia.
2 - Definitions are a restatement of existing California law.


Materials and Methods

Study Site(s):  

Overview of Data Collection and Analysis Methods:

Task 1: Choose your role

Choose your stakeholder role.  You can be anyone who might be affected by these reserves.  You should be someone specific, and you do not have to be someone with an opinion that you actually agree with.  Feel free to be creative with your choice.  The most important thing is that you are someone who would have an opinion about the marine reserve!  Some examples of roles you could choose include:

Places to get some ideas:

Bring your written character description to class.  All that is required is a couple of sentences stating who you will be and what your general position regarding marine reserves will be.

Task 2: Your individual activism
Note that you can begin working on Task 3 while working on this assignment.  This assignment should be done individually.

Write a position paper from the perspective of your character to the governor of Udubia that addresses State Bill TESC232.    The paper should be written in first person (in your character’s voice).  Your paper should be your reaction to the passage of this bill and your attempt to take action or convince someone about how (or if) it should be enacted.  Your paper must contain at least 3 pages (or about 800 words) of writing and should be based on both your character’s perspective and factual information (provided data and outside research).

You should spend a section of your paper developing your character and the rest devoted to the issues.  This paper requires research.  Therefore, you must include a bibliography.  Citations, however, are not needed unless your character would normally use them in the format you are using.  Direct quotes, data, and facts must be attributed to their original sources, however (for example, you could state, “According to the Fisheries Commission of Udubia, 24% of lobster fishers are female”). 

You will be assessed on the strength of your argument, including your use of provided and outside research to make your case.  Factor in the ecology of the relevant species and what you have learned about how reserves are designed.

Task 3: State Commission Public Hearing
You will be divided into groups of like-minded characters for the in-class debate, and you will be given time in class to prepare for the hearing, but you should plan to also meet outside of class to prepare well.  You will need to conduct outside research to build your case, including consideration of the ecology of the species in the area and the science of marine reserves.  A reference list is due prior to the debate.

On debate day, the Udubia Fisheries Commission will have a public meeting to solicit plans for the newly-passed UMEPA.  The ultimate goal is to create a marine reserve (or reserve network) that protects between 20-50% of the submerged lands of Udubia.  Use the grid to create your reserve—each square is considered one unit that will be managed together.  You need to choose 20-50% of the grid squares that are not land (there are approximately 75 squares of land out of 800).  In order to do this, you should first agree on a set of goals for your reserve—is it meant to protect fisheries?  Is it meant to maximize species diversity?  Protect marine mammals?  Maximize the number of habitats protected?  Provide for the most larval spillover?  You should use outside research to get some ideas about how and why marine reserves are designed, then design your reserve on the map.  Choose which grid squares you want to protect and what kind of protection (Reserve, Park, Conservation Area) you want them to have. 

You will have 8 minutes to make your case to the Commission.  Make sure you practice your talk to make sure it will fit in the time allotted.  Your group should be coordinated so that you appear to be practiced.  The Commissioners and the rest of the stakeholders will then ask you a few questions about your plan.  This should take approximately 5 minutes.  Note that your group will get a higher grade if you ask more questions of other groups.

Some of the questions you should be prepared to answer include:

  1. How will your reserve affect the economy of Udubia?
  2. How will your reserve improve fisheries outside of the reserve?  What life history stages did you focus on?
  3. How does your reserve impact existing protection (the Husky Reserve, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act) in Udubia?
  4. What would happen if a catastrophic event destroys your reserve?
  5. What will your reserve do to protect biodiversity of Udubia?
  6. How are the costs of setting up this reserve distributed among the stakeholders of Udubia?  How are the benefits distributed?
  7. How will this reserve be enforced?

There might be some questions specific to your plan as well.  Other groups can ask you questions specific to their own biases and perspectives.  If there is time after each group presents, we will ask these questions in a round robin.

Costumes and props are encouraged for the debate.


Questions for Further Thought and Discussion


References and Links

Useful Web Sites


Tools for Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Individual Component
The individual papers are assessed using a simple rubric that stresses the strength and consistency of the argument (especially using provided data and outside sources) used and your creativity.  Points are given based on the following:

Component Weight
Strength of Argument
Use of Outside Sources
Consistency of Argument
Critical thinking skills (comprehension)
Organization skills
Linguistic skills (word choice and meaning)
Mechanics & Correctness (grammar and proofreading)

The “exceptional” category for each item are as follows:

Group Component
You will be evaluated as a group for your presentation and debate participation.  The group presentations will be assessed using a rubric attached as an Excel file (presentation_rubric.xls).  This rubric stresses comprehension and scientific evidence, as well as basic presentation skills.

In addition, you will be asked to evaluate the contributions of your group members to assure that everyone participates equally.  This form is given in a Word file (evaluation_form.doc).


Extension Activities for Advanced Students