Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Lab fee:


Downeast Maine, from the Penboscot River east to the Canadian border, includes Hancock and Washington Counties, a region of extremes between high levels of tourism, like Mount Desert Island, and many coastal towns that are heavily reliant on fisheries for their economic existence. This long history of cultural and economic dependence on fisheries makes the region particularly vulnerable to fisheries decline, such as the collapse of the sardine and cod fisheries. Recent trends in the lobster, clam, scallop, and elver fisheries, as well as aquaculture, show various levels of instability and risk. At the same time, numerous initiatives in the region focus on revitalizing and stabilizing fisheries, while enhancing community resilience. This class uses a variety of inter-disciplinary approaches to examine the relationships among marine resources, fisheries policy, harvesters, and communities. We are interested in examining the relationships within this linked social-ecological system, and use historical data, current documents, interviews and oral histories to examine the human-ecological relationships among residents, policy, and resources. We also will examine new economic initiatives in these communities, including ecotourism, aquaculture, and renewable energy. We have several individuals coming to campus to discuss issues with the class, and take several field trips (including an overnight to the Cobscook Bay area) to Downeast communities. Evaluation will be based on several assignments during the term, including an oral history, sets of essay questions, and research on a fishery. Students will also work on a small-group project examining a research question using multiple methodologies, with a presentation and paper due at the end of the term. Active engagement during class, with guest speakers, and on field trips will be expected.


A class in anthropology, marine biology, fisheries, or environmental policy, and permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.