Thursday, August 27, 2020

The End to a Great Summer

My team with the first striper of the summer!

    Seemingly as soon as it started, my third summer with Save the Harbor Save the Bay has come to a close. A common theme that’s often mentioned is how much of our normal life was altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer is different than all of the summers we have/will have experienced. However, we still hit the beaches, were on the harbor, and helped educate about its history and inhabitants sharing laughs along the way!

    For our last in person day, we had the pleasure of visiting Spectacle Island once more. I brought my fishing rod and took some time to reflect on the past 2 months while casting into the surf.

Sharing a laugh with Albert

    When reminiscing about this summer, it’s difficult to pick out just a few of the many moments that made this year so special. I want to thank Albert, Arianna, Madi, Qalid, and Ty for being on my team. You all worked hard and helped to produce some phenomenal content that will go a long way educating local communities about our harbor. Thanks to David Coffin for sharing a seemingly endless amount of Boston Harbor knowledge with us. Thanks to Captain Charlie for taking us out on the water and always putting us on fish. And finally, a  huge thank you to Kristen, Bridget, Maya, and Sam who made this summer run smoothly, without their facilitation, programming would not have been nearly as fun. We started the summer off strong with a several mile walk at Revere Beach on our first day of programming, then caught the first striped bass of the summer on the next day! We battled swarms of mosquitoes to explore Belle Isle Marsh. We crushed the Harborwalk scavenger hunt. And most importantly, we had a lot of fun.


Stellwagen Bank crew

   A few of us got the opportunity to explore the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This incredible day was well worth the 6 A.M. wake-up call on a Sunday. Humpback whales, a leatherback sea turtle, and a wealth of fish were welcomed guests on our trip offshore. Aside from the fish we caught, we also gained a wealth of knowledge about the life histories and conservation of the many species that inhabit local waters. It’s a day I am sure to remember for a long time. 

As I made my way around Spectacle, I looked over to Long Island. It reminded me of all the great memories I’ve made there in the past at Camp Harborview

The last striper of summer programming 
and made me look forward to next summer when hopefully the camp can open up again. I looked to my left and saw Deer Island. It is home to the MWRA sewage treatment facility that helps to keep Boston Harbor clean, and for that I am grateful. I make one last cast before reconnecting with the rest of the Save the Harbor staff and manage to connect with a schoolie striped bass. A pair of stripers seemed like perfect bookends to a great summer. 

    I recently stumbled upon a quote from former president John F. Kennedy that resonated with me, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came”. Something that I have often thought of throughout this summer is how despite the uncertain times, the harbor has always been there. And I think this is important for us to remember, regardless of what’s happening in the world, the stripers will still migrate, the seals will still swim, and the tides will still change. I hope more of us feel this tie to the ocean and come to love the harbor as I do. 

Stay safe, stay healthy, and as always

Tight Lines,


Monday, August 24, 2020

Till next summer...

This is the last blog of the summer I am writing because sadly it is the last week of Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay. It's sad to think that about 7 weeks fly by so quick. I feel like just last week I was completing my first blog ever. this summer went by too fast. I just want to thank my group for making this summer better than I expected it to be. This summer would not have been the same. 

To start the week off my team and I meet up at Constitution Beach in East Boston. We met up with Team Karliyah/ Fatima. At Constitution, it was more of a chill and relax day. We just played some games and shared a couple of laughs here and there. The one thing I remember clearly from that day is the amount of bees there. The number of bees that were flying around Constitution Beach was insane. Everywhere anyone went a bee would follow them. It was nice being able to hang around another group for the day. 

So on Wednesday my team and I were in a competitive scavenger. Our group walked and walked and WALKED. We started at the Bunker Hill monument and ended at J Pace & Son. We each ate a refreshing popsicle after our long walk. I feel like we were walking for hours but we were only walking for like 3 or 4. Let's just say it was a pretty long day. I ended up going home and I felt like my legs couldn't even hold me up. I was exhausted but on the bright side, we got pizza at Regina's. Overall we had a great time even though we were tired in the end.

Last but not least on Thursday we went to Spectacle Island. We met up with two more teams. It was pretty hot that day. So we decided to play some kickball. That kickball game sure was something else. First, when we ran that bases we ran them the opposite way, like I mean third base was considered first and vice versa. Then trying to catch the ball was harder than you think when it bounces off your chest. Some people got ran over by the opposing team. And then the ball was being kicked at people's faces. There were people diving for the ball and sadly not even catching it. We just had a good time. It was nice to play in that heat. Even though my team lost we still had fun. 

My team and I successfully surviving the scavenger hunt!

I think my favorite moment this summer was when we were making our full house intro videos. That week was one of the funniest weeks we've had. I feel like even though Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay is a job it also allows you to learn more about the city we all love, Boston. I've learned a lot more this summer about Boston than I have ever in my entire life. And it only took about 7 weeks to learn all that information. I recommend people to take this job. Honestly, with the whole pandemic going on I thought my summer would have been different but it was a lot better than I expected. Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay has such a welcoming and kind community. The people there are very nice and caring. I personally struggled when I was trying to apply through Succes-link because it was just not cooperating with and Kristen was by my side the whole time and I appreciate that because not only was she helpful but she was patient and understanding about it. I think what I'll miss the most are the random stories people would tell in my group. I also learned a couple of new games this summer that I can now share with my friends and family. Generally speaking, I'd say my summer for 2020 was a success.

        Thanks for a great summer!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Until Next Time

    Hi guys, gals, and everyone in between! 
This past week was our last week of summer programming with Save the Harbor Save the Bay :( 

Although our hearts are a little heavy, we've made some serious memories that will always be cherished and that I will definitely be thinking about once winter makes its way around. 

Leading a team of teenagers through a pandemic with an end goal of creating interactive content for youth was not exactly what I pictured myself doing towards the end of my master's program, but there I was, doing (or attempting to do) just that. Having no real teaching experience, I came into this job a bit frazzled with the constant doubt of whether I was fully equipped to do this, but little did I know, I would be taught a thing or two from today's youth. Some of my favorite moments of the summer were getting to know my group and having conversations and sharing our thoughts regarding current trends and world issues. I loved the fact that we could always joke around while keeping respect for each other! Another favorite part of this summer was playing games with my group, like charades, although they weren't very good at it (sorry guys). 

Team Claudia in the air after too many attempts 

Having been cooped up at home before all this, interacting with people was something I was looking forward to doing again, even if my everyday colleagues were about a decade younger. I got to experience a bit more what it would be like to give advice to younger generations seeking some direction in life, career or otherwise, and I got to see where priorities lay with high school and college folks nowadays. I learned that TikTok and YouTube are basically life skills, but I also saw how important direct communication is and how much the concept of "status quo" is phasing out. The latter two are concepts I seek to incorporate more of into my personal life! I also got to meet people of older generations that are working to make communities more habitable, such as the mayor or Revere, Brian Arrigo, who is working on the Revere Master Plan to make the city metropolitan-friendly and generally better for years to come. 

Sometimes, you have to crab it out (Will & Ruben)

Most of all, I will miss being part of a team with similar interests and passions that are supportive of each other. Even though we will stay in touch, nothing beats working every day with people that are just as excited as you to make an impact on individuals and communities through the use of the public spaces that the Boston Harbor has to offer. 

Team Claudia at Spectacle Island with David, Bridget, and Sam

As always, catch me on the coast! 


Sea y'all next summer

 Hey y'all!

I can't believe it's already our last week of work for the summer :(. I had expected that I was going to enjoy my job, but I couldn't have guessed just how much I would love it and how close our team got. My group will definitely be what I miss most. I can visit a lot of the sites that we worked at on my own time, but it won't be the same without Ruben talking about fishing and chicken sandwiches, Will making absolutely terrible jokes that I may or may not still laugh at every time, Ari and Vanessa full-sending into the water with me and swimming out ridiculously far for no reason, and Claudia offering good advice and (miraculously) putting up with all of our antics. It's really hard to pick only one favorite moment from the summer, but I think I would have to choose our trip to Spectacle Island, though our trip to George's Island is a close second. I had actually never been to Spectacle before, and this was pretty much a perfect first trip. Our deliverable for the week was a vlog, so the only work I had to do was take pictures and videos. It was kind of disgustingly hot, but we still spent way too long searching for sea glass and then decided to hike up the hill way too fast (it was conditioning for soccer). The view from the top of Spectacle was beautiful, but what was even better was diving in to go swimming after we had been hiking in the heat for over an hour. And of course, any time I got to spend just talking and laughing with my group was a good time.

Team Claudia + Ms. Ryan, David, and Sam at Spectacle
View from the top of Spectacle

Of course, work wasn't all fun and games; we did actually have to do work. I learned a lot about the history of the Harbor, both in our Harbor tour with David and because I made a point to include some historical background about each site in our video introductions. Like my favorite moment, my favorite piece of history also comes from Spectacle Island, and that's the fact that Spectacle used to be a trash dump until they set it all on fire and it burned for ten years. Fun, right? I also learned plenty of important ~life skills~. As someone who usually prefers doing work alone (thanks school group projects), I had to learn how to collaborate and communicate with my teammates. Plus, we had to learn how to work together over Zoom and make content that was engaging online, which I'm sure will be very helpful during BPS' two months of completely online school. Writing these weekly blogs was very helpful as well - it made sure that I wouldn't forget how to write or do research or make a bibliography before my senior year starts. And lastly, this job made me a better photographer, so here are some of my favorite photos from the summer (they said to include 3 but, you know what, have 6).

The Belle and downtown Boston

Out of the walls of Fort Warren

Ok, we're done with the aesthetic pictures.
Jane and Vanessa recreating a statue

Vanessa and Ari interlocking toes, as you do

Vanessa admiring her hairstylist skills on Will

Save the Harbor's OB squad (shout-out to Ms. Ryan <3)

Until next year...
Peace out y'all :)

see you next summer!


   This is sadly the last blog of the summer, but here is how my last we went. On Tuesday we went back to Castle Island with Caroline's group. On my way there, I saw Jay and Jane and said I could get a ride from Bridget. It was very early so we got in her car and picked D up from Carson beach because she wanted to come with us and we went to get breakfast at J Pace. I got a chocolate chip muffin and a chocolate chip cookie and apple juice. Went back to Bridget's car, made jokes, and ate our food and saw Vanessa then we to Castle Island. We walked down to the end of the beach where we played games and took pictures and of course, Ruben went fishing. We walked back and my group went into the water with our clothes on because why not! McRae, Claudia,Vanessa, and I all swam out to touch the buoy. It was McRae, me, Vanessa, and Claudia, and Will and Ruben didn't want to swim out that far. We ate then went home. On Wednesday we to Georges Island and walked around a lot and went inside the forts and in the dark tunnel. I was scared because I couldn't see anything and Kamal scared me and I almost had a heart attack! We ate, chilled out till the boat came back, then went home. On Thursday we went on a scavenger hunt; we met at J Pace I got a chocolate chip muffin and apple juice. We went across the street and ate and we started are hunt we walk all around the sea port to the aquarium then met up with everyone else took the last pictures and and are goodbyes and that is how my last week went. 

See u guys next summer,

Team Claudia at Rowe's Wharf

Team Claudia at the federal courthouse in the Seaport 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Summer 2020... is over!

Hello everyone, Sad to say but the summer is over and happily this is the last blog I will be writing for summer 2020. I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to be outside and have a wonderful summer with my team! The summer definitely went quicker than expected. July took it’s time but August started then in two seconds, it was over. This week definitely felt like it went by the fastest. On Tuesday, my team and I were having a blast in the sun at Constitution Beach in East Boston in addition to having Michaels team with us. On Thursday was the adventurous scavenger hunt around Boston. My team and I started at J. Paceson where we had a quick team breakfast and after made our way aground Seaport for the majority of our pictures. After we headed to the North End where I sadly rolled my ankle off the curb and had a limp for the rest of the day.
I am so happy that I was able to spend another year at Save the Harbor and even have my first year as a SHE. Even though this summer was very different from the others because of COVID-19, my team still managed to make the most of it. I will definitely miss my team members the most. Over the course of the summer we have built such a fun bond that I am hoping will last even after this summer is over. I am going to miss our fun team lunches and always making up fun games to play throughout the week. It was so amazing to be able to spend time at not only one site, but to different sites every week. I do wish we were able to spend more days with ALL the kids, but it is understandable on why we couldn’t.
Sadly, I don’t know if I will be working with SHSB next year because as a Pre-Med student I have to start beginning my research hours and clinical experience to get into medical school. I hope that everyone loved their summer as much as I did and have a great rest of the year. Always remember coronavirus is still out there, so everyone be extremely safe!!
See you guys later, Fatima :)

Monday, August 17, 2020

A week full of laughter ;)

    It's sad to think that next week is our last week of work. Looking back I think of the first week of work compared to now. This week I felt really connected to my group. My group and I were placed in Malibu Beach in Dorchester. Even with the blazing hot weather my group and I worked hard to finish our video. Overall, I notice how each week my group works together and finished our deliverable faster due to how cooperative we are. I can tell we've grown as a group because we went from not barely having a conversation with one another whereas now where we have endless laughs and days full of fun. This week we filmed a video for our deliverable. It took us a couple of takes but we got it done efficiently.  With the time we had to spare we decided to connect with our group members by playing games. I learned how to play a couple of new card games. We played Mafia and my group now knows I am not a good liar. Kristen and Maya also joined us as we played Uno one day in the week. Endless rounds of Uno made us play every man for themselves. We had no sympathy as we played. 

My Group and I played Heads Up

 This week's theme was fisheries. I would describe a fishery as a job or occupation that is connected to marine life itself. According to Mass Bay Guides, the common fish that are caught in Boston are the Atlantic Cod and Black Sea Bass. The first time I went fishing was actually with Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay when we went on our fishing trip. I learned how to fish and it was a pretty good experience because we had a good time on the trip. On the trip, Charlie, the captain, managed to catch a lot of fish and I got to look at different kinds of fish for myself. I saw some striped bass and winter flounder along with some crabs when we brought up the crab trap. For my first time fishing, I had a good time and I'm glad my first time was with my group. Something new I learned was that Cod is the official state fish in Massachusetts. Cod was also overfished and in 2010 catch limits were introduced to help bring mortality rates down. This is important because at one point Cod were almost non-existent because of how many people caught them as they were fishing.

Catch you guys later,

Charlestown Navy Yard

     Hello there! I'm back with another blog and I'm so happy to talk to you all again.  This week we were at the Charlestown Navy Yard. this place has so much historical background and is ingrained in the city of Boston. It is the home of the oldest navy ship that is still afloat to this day in america, the USS Constitution. Its other name is old iron sides. I learned this on the harbor tour me and my group went on. When there was a battle between the people in Boston and the British they would fire many cannons to the USS constitution but none of them actually destroyed the ship and one of the people on the ship yelled that the side that was hit had a side of iron.
      Today I wanted to talk about what I learned while on the harbor tour about how the water quality can really affect the city around it. Just a little context: while on the tour I did my best to try to answer as many questions as I could when the speaker would ask them (even ones that I probably didn't know the most about haha). One that I did catch that I thought was super interesting was the fact that back before the harbor clean up you needed a tetanus shot to even work on the harbor  because of how dirty it was. Also, a lot of the housing near the harbor was very affordable housing because of the fact that no one wanted to live there so if you actually go to the harbor you can see the comparison of the small houses to the huge condos next to them.
        Now, after the harbor clean up there were more investors that wanted to build there and they built more land and added it to Boston. Now, the places that are near the harbor have more attractions and now there are little buildings next to huge condos. Those are evidence of the harbor clean up. 


My week at Constitution !!


On Tuesday we went to Constitution beach, we were looking for hermit crabs and Ruben was trying to fish. Claudia, McRae, Vanessa, and I saw two hermit crabs fighting for a shell to live in and it was really fun, we also saw a bunch of tiny little fish. We made skits for a video and I was a jellyfish. We went swimming for a little then I got cold and got out and put my sweater on. Then for lunch we walked to Burger King and talked the rest of the day about our hardships and gave each other advice. On Wednesday we went to Spectacle Island. We were on the boat for a very long time it felt like forever but we went on a hike and went swimming. Vanessa and I ran to the water because it was really hot, we ate then left to go home. On Thursday we swam, made skits, went back to Burger King for lunch again and Vanessa and McRae went to subway to eat. We watched funny videos and went back swimming then went to the showers and changed then went home.


What is fishery? A company or a group of people harvesting fish. Common fish that are caught in Boston are BLUEFISH, BLACK SEA BASS,STRIPED BASS, SCUP, TAUTOG, and WEAKFISH. A hub in Boston for fishing is Kayak fishing hub and it is located at Boston's north shore. Ecological pros and cons of fisheries are: Pro - Replenishment, because it helps get more food fast and allowing supplies to have to keep up with demand. Con- Environmental Damage. These farms have large fish condensed in one area, and when the fish die they are dumped in to the water polluting it. I haven't had a chance to interact with fisheries but I'm interested in the future. Something interesting I learned about fisheries is that there are a lot of regulations and rules to fish and that american lobsters have a longer lifespan than cats and dogs.

-see you next time on the water,


Spectacle Island view of the city

 This week we were at constitution beach where we learned about fisheries and did a video on it. Fisheries are places that collect larger amounts of fish to sell to the common people. The fish you find at fish markets are usually collected by fisheries. Depending on the fishery they use different methods of fishing as we explained in the video that we made. It also varies on the wealth of the country and what they have access to for fishing. Some fisheries use nets, rods, longlines, traps, and spears. There are many other methods as well. Some fish commonly caught by fisheries in Boston are striped bass, blue fish, Black Sea Bass, cod, and flounder. There are a few more but those are the main ones. The main fisheries in Massachusetts are in Gloucester and New Bedford. Overfishing is a major issue with fisheries. They are taking fish out of the ocean in large quantities.

Spectacle Island

There was a time that fisheries weren’t communicating about how much they were taking, so everyone was taking too much. Depending on what method is used there can also be a lot of bycatch. Even if they do release the fish or by catch that isn’t wanted those animals have suffered and can now even struggle to continue surviving. The pros about fisheries is that they have rules and regulations they are required to follow so it allows us to control how much damage they are causing. Some of the regulations in place at the moment are what season they can be caught, size, amount, even gender. This allows the fish to reproduce at a rate that can sustain the fishing rate. They as well have limitations for what areas the fish can be caught in. I don’t eat fish so that means that I’m not adding to the demand of fish. This lowers the supply that is needed. The more demand the more supply. Fisheries go based on how much is needed to avoid overfishing. Something I found interesting was that when fisheries were first put into motion there weren’t that many regulations. Now having communication between countries is required. It’s so important to not only adjust based on demand but also based on how well the ocean can provide and sustain our needs. You can’t take from where there isn’t enough to take from.

Catch you on the flip side,


Charlestown Navy Yard

So this week my team was at Charlestown Navy Yard and the topic for the weeks blog is on fisheries. while the Navy Yard doesn't have much history with fisheries, it has a very rich shipbuilding history. One type of ship that was built here was called a Schooner. One Schooner built in Charlestown is called the Roseway and it is docked over by the Moakley Courthouse. It was originally built to be a Cod Schooner but the man who owned it didn't like the smell of Cod so he decided to use the vessel to fish for Swordfish instead. In New England a lot of Schooners were used to fish for Cod. Cod is a bottom feeding fish that used to be extremely plentiful in the waters off shore. Because of their abundance, the Cod fishing industry began to explode, thus creating large Cod fisheries. The demand for Cod increased and people began over fishing Cod. Meaning that fishermen were taking more Cod than the population could support. However, regulations have been put in place to prevent people from over fishing. 

This week my team also got to go out on the Belle for a harbor tour. We crisscrossed all over the inner harbor learning about how the coastline has expanded and changed since the 1600's. We then went out near some of the harbor islands. An interesting thing I learned about the islands is that at low tide there are 34 islands but at high tide there are only 33. That is because at high tide water completely covers one island. This island is called Nixes Mate. Back in the old days, this is where people would hang pirates as a deterrent for other pirates entering the harbor. Legend has it that the last pirate to be hung on the island cast a curse upon it. He cast that the island would sink back into the sea and 20 years later at high tide it went completely under. 

Harbor Tour

Fins up!


Behind the Fishery!

    A fishery is an area or place where fish and other sea animals are caught. They catch, process, and sell these animals. There are fish that are pretty common around the Boston Harbor area. Some of those fish are Sea Bass (Black sea bass, Striped Bass), Bluefish, Cod, Flounders, Skates, and many more. Although there are many hubs for fishing in Boston, one of the best is the Charles River. There are many fish that are around the area as well as many fishing spots that are known to hold fish of all shapes and sizes.

The main pro of a regulated fishery is that it can help sustain/impact the world's GDP, which is the market value of all goods. This goes hand and hand with the economic health of a country.

    Also, it helps supply people with food throughout the country. However, the main con is the impact on the oceans, and fisheries/fish farms can put harm on those environments. Not to mention that there can be a chance of diseases and bacteria that can be spread around in those fishes. In most fisheries, they fall under 4 regulations that can affect their functions. They are Space, Time, Size, and Gear. With Space, they often limit their area so they don’t overstep their boundaries and affect the environment even more. With Time, they limit themselves on how long they can fish as well as only open on certain parts of the year. Size has to do with the amount of fish that are caught, they cannot over fish and limit themselves on how much they catch. With Gears, only a few select gears can be used to catch fish.

Considering that I have only eaten fish a few times, I could say that I interact with fisheries only a little bit. Sometimes I go to a market to pick up a fish or any similar animal and see how it’s processed in the market. Normally I don’t interact with fisheries at all.

    I have learned many things about fisheries while researching it for my blog. One of them is the difference between fishery and a fish farm. They both affect the environment in their way but also function differently. One thing I also learned from the research is the limitations and rules that fisheries have to abide by to function, also known as the 4 regulations. There is a lot more that goes onto fisheries that people don’t know.

Sea ya Later!

    ~ Kamal

Me and My coworkers chilling on the Harbor Boat Tour!


Charlestown Navy Yard

 Heyy everyone,

    This week my group and I got to visit Charlestown Navy Yard, where we worked on a lesson plan and learned about fisheries and regulations. We had 2 days to put it together and a lot of our energy went into the first day where we all split up to do our parts; Kamal and I put together a game where you describe the fish, like body size, color, head shape, if they are fast or slow swimmers, etc., and the kids have to try and draw it based off those characteristics. Once everyone did their part, we came together, discussed it, and put it all together and worked on the rest as a group. We heard all the groups started filming their own Full House intros so we just had to do those before the day was over, we walked around the Navy Yard and were reading all the information stands about the history as we scouted out places to do someone's intro. We decided I should chase some pigeons because I'm always running after birds on the beach :). We also visited the Bunker Hill Monument on Wednesday which was hot but nice. On Thursday we went on the Harbor Tour with all the senior staff which was really cool because I thought I knew a lot about the harbor already but I learned about so much more. Like that the Zakim Bridge was inspired by the Bunker Hill Monument behind the USS Constitution, or "Old Iron-sides". I got sunburned, but sitting on the front of the boat all day was really nice and worth a little burn. We had a really great time there and took some goofy group photos.

    The topic for this week was Fisheries, which are basically places where fishing is done commercially- they are caught in a conscious effort to be sold. Some of the most commonly caught fish around Boston is the Stripped Bass, Bluefish, and Black Sea Bass. Almost every week we've gotten to fish ourselves at each site, but of course that's just for fun, not to sell them. The Boston, McCorkle, and Fallon Fish piers are all fishing hubs in the harbor that are great to fish at. Though, fisheries are how many workers make a living and the fish caught supply a lot of food people eat in the world, about 1/3 of fisheries end up over fished and contributes to the decline in certain species like Cod and Sea Bass. I kind of thought the percent of fisheries that are overfished would be higher than 33% so I was glad to find that out, but really it should be 0%. Regulations for fisheries are based on time, like how long they can fish and the time of year. They're also based on the size of the fish, if it's too small it needs to grow, or if it's too big and is a breeding fish you aren't allowed to sell it. There is also a limit on how far out you can fish so you don't disrupt their habitat and/or breeding grounds.

                                                                       Grace & her chair :)

Sea you out there!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Look at the view!

 A fishery is a sort of large scale group of organizations and people who fish for fish either for recreation or occupation to produce money and aid the economy. Fisheries are a sort of hub for fisherman as that is where most of the commercial fishing is taking place and where all the dealing and trading is done. Typical fish that you would see in the fisheries around Boston are species like haddock, mackerel, redfish, flounder, cod, and tuna. All of these fish can be found inside the Boston harbor which is also the fishing hub of Boston, it is a great and open harbor and marina where fisherman can leave from and venture out to the Atlantic ocean and catch larger and more exotic fish species which aren't commonly found in the harbor. There are a few pros and cons when it comes to fisheries, one of the major benefits of fisheries is that they usually work well with and for the economy, the fishing market usually runs through there and without the fishery there isn't as strong of an economy or at least prevalent of a market. Fisheries also bring more trading opportunities with other states and nations as they can travel to the different ports and harbors where these fisheries are located. The most noticeable downside or concerning part of fisheries is that if not maintained well they can reduce the populations of fish as they can become over-hunted and from there they can go endangered. Some rules and regulations of our local fisheries are that fish have to be a certain size in order to be kept and also commercial fisherman are only allowed to fish and keep specific species that are not endangered and have to maintain a certain number of fish to bring home and if that number exceeds the limit they can be subject to fines and possibly get their fishing license revoked. I personally interact with fisheries when I am on teh harbor for work and run into local fishermen and or travel to the markets and buy fish, I also have taken home fish that I have caught while on fishing trips which makes me a part of the fishery. Something new that I learned was that fisheries can be and often times are the driving force behind fish markets and without the local fisheries, many towns and cities would not have the same opportunities to have fish and consume them on a daily basis.


Atlantic Cod and Striped Bass, Two Massachusetts Icons

It saddens me to admit that we are nearing the end of summer programming and soon most of the summer staff will be headed back to fall classes in one form or another. But instead of dwelling on the inevitable we decided to make the most of the time we have left. This week we were at Malibu Beach in Dorchester. I had never been there before, but we had three beautiful (and hot) days to enjoy it. Malibu

Filming for our video
Beach is located in a protected inlet across from a marina. Familiar saltmarsh plants such as Phragmites, Spartina alterniflora, and Spartina patens border its relatively calm waters. We attempted to make a fun, yet informative, video describing several activities that can be done at any beach, such as fishing, sand raking, and crabbing. Between filming shots we played some Save the Harbor classic card games, Uno and Presidents. Lots of laughs were shared this week and hopefully we can have a few more before the end of programming!

Fishing and New England go hand in hand. It’s hard to think of the Northeastern United States without picturing the Atlantic Ocean. Since colonial times, and millenia before that, those who have called this region home have found a bounty available to them in the coastal waters. I recently finished a great book by Mark Kurlansky, Cod, where he delves deep into the past, present, and future of cod and the groundfishing industry. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in the history of cod and its role on the global stage. Of the many things I learned while reading this book, something I found particularly interesting was that the pilgrims decided to settle in Massachusetts in order to make their living in the catching, salting, and selling of cod. Kurlansky describes how John Adams, being from Massachusetts, fought for American fishing rights on the Grand Banks off of Canada at the Treaty of Paris to resolve the American Revolution. 

The Atlantic cod is synonymous with Massachusetts. Our state fish, whose likeness can be seen hanging in the State House and emblazoned on Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries uniform, is as Massachusetts as throwing tea into Boston Harbor. One of the biggest problems cod faced was the idea that there were so many it would be impossible to overfish them. As fishing technology became more efficient very few fish could escape the wide reaching nets of commercial trawlers. Instead of

Massachusetts' "Sacred Cod"
understanding that cod stocks were dwindling, fleets would just move to the next fishing spot, chasing the cod to wherever they could be caught until there weren’t enough left to support commercial fishing. By the mid 1990’s cod stocks in the Northwestern Atlantic collapsed and cod became commercially extinct. Many fishermen in New England and Maritime Canada were left unemployed.  I like eating fish, so it would be hypocritical of me to condemn all commercial fishing practices, but there needs to be a balance between profitable harvests and conservation. Plans to rebuild the cod populations in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank are in place, but it’s hard to imagine cod being caught commercially in any great numbers in the near future.

Another book that I’m reading, Fly Fishing Boston by Terry C. Tessein, highlights the striped bass. Stripers, as they are often called by anglers, have a rich history in New England as well. Tessein, referencing the book Striper by John Cole, shares a Captain John Smith quote from 1614 where he describes striped bass being so numerous “‘...that it seemed to me that one mighte go over their backs dreshod”’ (Tessein, 44). This seems to be a common observation from that time period, whether it be of cod, stripers, or Atlantic salmon, early explorers often commented on there being so many fish you could walk on their backs without getting your feet wet. Tessein also remarks that striped bass were the subject of the first conservation law in North America, when the Plymouth Colony, in 1664, forbade the use of striped bass as fertilizer since they were much more valuable in other applications. 

Striped bass were not subject to the same commercial pressure as cod, but the fishery has experienced growth and collapse all the same. Until the 1980’s striped bass were commercially and recreationally caught on the Atlantic coast. Their popularity as a gamefish prompted stocking efforts on the west coast and in lakes throughout the United States. Similar to the cod in the 1990’s, striped bass populations became extremely low in the 80’s. Luckily, thanks to swift management efforts, such as a moratorium in the important spawning grounds of the Chesapeake Bay, striped bass began to rebound. For many years anglers enjoyed catching large numbers of stripers up and down the coast. However, in recent years the striped bass population has been in decline and seems to be on the precipice again. Many states

A schoolie striper my team caught in Revere
that have a striped bass fishery implemented new regulations for 2020, as an attempt to help the populations grow. Massachusetts, along with many other states, created a slot limit for recreational fishermen, only allowing fish between 28” and 35” to be kept, in order to protect the big breeding female striped bass. Cows, as they are affectionately called by anglers, can grow to well over 50” and produce millions of eggs. Massachusetts also mandated that in-line circle hooks must be used if soaking bait for stripers. Circle hooks reduce capture mortality since it is much more difficult to gut hook a fish with one, the idea is fish that are caught outside of the slot can be released with as little harm done as possible.  

As an avid fisherman I can only be optimistic about the future of these two important fisheries. Both for the health of the ecosystem and to maintain the rich tradition of fishing in New England. With better management of these species can ensure the longevity of their stocks. Maybe, some time in the future,  you’ll be able to walk on the backs of cod and striped bass again.

Tight Lines,


A week full of fun!!

     This week was a little interesting. My group was able to go to Spectacle Island again on Wednesday for a beautiful walk around the island. Then, on Thursday we had the harbor tour with David Coffin. Out of both trips, the harbor tour was my favorite because we got to sail around the harbor for a few hours and just enjoy the scenery. I was able to learn a lot of new things about the Boston harbor and its island that I have never known before. For instance, the movie Shutter island was filmed on Boston Harbor's Long Island. There are so many things to learn about the harbor and David is the guy to go to. However, on Tuesday some of my group members weren't here so I joined another group at Constitution Beach. Me and Arianna from my group helped that team with research for their deliverable because we didn't have enough people in my group to do one.  I really enjoyed this week because I was somewhere new everyday and it felt good to move around again. Overall, this week was a success in my book!

Luke’s group at Constitution beach.

    This weeks theme was water quality and pollution. When talking about water quality, it means how safe is the water. A lot of factors go into water quality such as chemicals that are in it or physical things that cause the quality of the water to be poor. Water quality doesn't just go with the ocean, you test pools and drinking water to see if they are safe to be in or drink. A lot of chemicals go into pools to make them swimmable for people. Also, you can test water to see if it's acidic, neutral, or alkaline. If the water tests anything below neutral, meaning acidic, it isn't good drinking water. When it comes to oceans, ponds, lakes, or any body of water that animals and ecosystems live in, it is very important to regularly test the water quality because if the water isn't good enough it may harm everything in it. I know that Constitution beach sometimes has to prohibit beach goers from going in the water because there are high levels of dangerous bacteria that could make you sick. The beach is right next to the airport so fumes from the planes could be a leading cause of this. Some beaches in the Boston area don't have the cleanest water, so more testing and more funds for testing would be helpful, but the water quality is much better than it used to be!

Picture of some flowers at Spectacle island.

Tour around the harbor

Harbor Tour
 For our sixth week, our group was located at the Navy Yard in Charlestown, however, for the rest of the week, we were able to spend on a boat. I was not able to go to work the only day that our group was at the Navy Yard but it turns out that my group went to another site and was able to hang out with different people. They were also able to help them research their deliverable. With no deliverable for the team due this week, we had time to enjoy and take in the Boston harbor. We started off the week with two amazing speakers on the topic of social justice, it was very inspiring to see that people my age were making a difference in the community. They were able to do some much in such a short amount a time, only a few people were able to make such a huge positive impact in Boston. However they did not sugar coat anything to us when talking about the current social climate and I thought that was a great choice, not only was it an eye-opener to a lot of people, it showed the maturity in these young leaders and how they were ready to confront the world at a young age. On Wednesday our group was fortunate enough to be able to go to Spectacle Island for the second time this summer, unlike our previous visit at the island the weather of the day was perfect for taking a dive deep into the surrounding water. After circling the island on a trail, the cold water felt like a nice reward for our efforts. The trips to Spectacle Island have definitely been a treat this summer, while it may be a common occurrence during our regular summers. This time it felt like a day off from our usual type of work. For our last day of in-person meetings, we had a tour of the Boston Harbor on The Belle. With David as our host, it was not difficult to be captivated during the whole boat ride. I ended up learning a lot from this trip, previously I had assumed that there was nothing I did not know after working three years at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay but it turns out you learn something new every day. Apparently, in order to enter the Boston harbor, you have to enter through a specific channel due to the fact that most of the harbor isn't that deep, so in order to allow bigger ships into the harbor, they had to dig out trenches where ships were allowed to drive into. Entering the harbor, a green buoy must be on your left and the red buoy needs to be on your right, so when you're leaving Boston, this is the opposite. The green buoy on your left and the red buoy on your right.
Water in Boston
Something that was spoken about on the trip was Deer island and its creation has been instrumental in the restoration of the harbor water. Before the clean up of the Boston Harbor, falling into this water was almost life-threatening requiring that you take a tetanus shot after going into the water. This was due to the fact that trash and human waste used to be thrown into the harbor. As a result of the cleanup, the facilities on Deer Island were created, which then allowed the waste to be reused and changed into fertilizer pellets. Because of this, the water quality was increased dramatically, with the waste out of the harbor, it made it so it became way less dangerous than before. And as the years went by, this happened to most of the water surrounding Massachusetts and now it is home to one of the cleanest urban harbors in America. There is a way to check this in case you do not believe me, with your very own water quality test. With a single PH strip, you are able to determine the water quality in Boston, what the PH strip does is it measures how acidic/basic the water is. With 7 being neutral, this test allows you to check how clean the water would be. While a 7 is extremely rare due to the occurrence of external forces, the water in Boston should be relatively close compared to the other waterfronts in America.

Until next time,