NOSB 2012 Research Project:
Ecosystem-based Management of an Alaska-based Fishery

2012 student research papers

The Research Project

This project will count as 50 percent of the 2012 Alaska Region NOSB competition. The written document and the oral presentation each count as 25 percent toward that 50-percent total.

Final papers are due 1 December 2011. Email electronic submissions to Dean Stockwell at

The research project is optional. Teams can compete in the quiz bowl portion of the Tsunami Bowl without doing a project, but since the project is responsible for half of a team’s total score, a team not doing the project has no chance of being the overall winner and progressing to the national competition in April 2012.

See the document preparation guidelines for deadlines and instructions on how to prepare the research paper.

The Topic

This year’s theme should focus on the ecosystem-based management of an Alaska-based fishery. The Pacific Fishery Management Council uses this definition: “Ecosystem-based fishery management recognizes the physical, biological, economic and social interactions among the affected components of the ecosystem and attempts to manage fisheries to achieve a stipulated spectrum of societal goals, some of which may be in competition.” Ecosystem-based management is a relatively new way of looking at the management of a living resource.

This is a very broad topic, and you will need to focus upon a particular fisheries and management scheme. This topic is intentionally broad. It is expected that different teams will develop different types of plans. There is no cookie-cutter answer. Be creative! It is important that you communicate your ideas clearly and completely. Focus on a marine-based fishery (this would include shellfish, salmon, other migratory fish that have connectivity to the sea).

For this project you are asked to develop a plan for implementing an ecosystem-based approach to management of a local marine resource in response to changes brought about by pollution, habitat loss, overfishing and other parameters such as climate change.

This means you need to pick an Alaskan fishery and demonstrate a firm understanding of that fishery’s development, evolution, economics and specific problems.

  1. Describe your specific fishery, and define the role of various target species within it. (Note: this should be fairly restricted and yet an Alaskan fishery). Remember that an ecosystem is a geographically defined system of organisms, environmental processes and any other processes controlling its dynamics.
  2. Briefly describe the historical development of this fishery and include the economic importance of your defined fishery.
  3. Develop a multispecies management plan with defined goals.
  4. Prioritize what research is needed for successful management of this specific fishery.

Reviewers will be looking to see how well you describe your understanding of your given fishery, your study area and potential problems. Also of importance are the following:

Note carefully: The reviewers are looking for novelty, insightfulness and clarity. Be sure to define your scenario. What is the problem? Why is it a problem? Who or what can realistically help the situation? What future research should be done and is needed to be done in order to guide us to improve the management of this fishery? Use facts to build your arguments but don’t be afraid to think about the facts in new ways. What are the broader impacts of your ideas? Who or what is affected? Why is this important to them or to you? Present more than facts. Synthesize the information to present the situation from beginning (facts) to end (ways to improve, cope, ameliorate or eliminate the impacts of your particular situation).


Note: As in the past, a minimum of three judges will evaluate each paper and the cumulative scores will be averaged.

Below are links to PDFs of the scoring rubrics for both the written paper and oral presentation.


General writing, research, and presentation resources

Submitting Your Paper

Email electronic submissions to: no later than 1 December 2011.

The paper submitted in December should be considered the final product. If a team would like some critical feedback from Dean Stockwell before turning in their final paper, they are encouraged to submit an optional outline to the above email address by October 15. Dean will review the outline and make comments and suggestions, which he will try to send to the team within two weeks.