A Fishy Education
Orewa College on the Hibiscus Coast, just north of Auckland, has a natural synergy with the coastline and the sea. They have capitalised on their location, with students learning to sail, paddleboard, kayak, surf lifesaving and now… naturally fishing.
At this stage they have not incorporated the actual ‘catching’ of fish but intend to expand into that region shortly. A year 10 class called 10PBL (project-based learning) of about 40 students is doing a programme called ‘Love your Coastline’; the class is organised by Joel Dickinson (Outdoor Education) and Matthew Harrison (Geography) and is currently running for one term.
Sustainable fishing is a large part of the focus as it is seen as part of the community culture.
“We look into what lives in our area, from eels in the streams and flounder in the estuary to snapper in the deeper water. We look at the laws around fishing and students make additional laws that could prolong recreational fishing. We focus on the ‘how to fish,’ not on the ‘not to fish’,” Joel Dickinson says.
The school has been supported by the local fish store Oceanz Seafood in Silverdale who supplied fresh snapper for the class, so they had a close look at the anatomy of the fish while learning how to fillet.
“But mostly we are looking at why we catch them (and eat them) and how to get the most out of a fish and not waste them. We made sashimi, we fried fillets and then we smoked some as well.”
The students were involved in every step of the process from scaling to eating. There was little more than a handful of waste left over, which was then used as fertilizer.
“The level of enthusiasm, engagement and simple high interest of the students has given the staff the idea to expand the fishing model even further.
“The success of the fishing component of this unit has given us the motivation to branch out to subjects like hard tech (woodwork, metal work) where we can create a full unit completely around fishing and the different sustainable techniques. Students will build things like Hawaiian slings, lures and smokers.”
Watch this space.
14 July 2021