Virtual Fisheries Module

Strengthening the abilities of school students to identify and georeference fish species

This module focuses on the new species of fish that appear in the La Niña lagoon after an El Niño event. It was developed in August 2023 as a new dimension to the research-teaching collaboration between the University of St Andrews and I.E Daniel Alcides Carrión in preparation for the imminent arrival of what was then being predicted to be a strong El Niño in northern Peru from December 2023 onwards.

Linked directly to the Peruvian school curriculum subject area of science and technology, it addresses the competency ‘inquiry through scientific methods to build knowledge’ and seeks to develop students’ specific skills in ‘problematising situations’, ‘designing research strategies’ and ‘generating and registering data’ (Ministerio de Educación, 2016). To build these skills, classroom in-person teaching sessions have supported skills-based sessions online, delivered by St Andrews staff. They have taught students how to build and use an ichthyometre to measure fish size and how to access satellite imagery to geotag the locations of their field-based data collection. In the field, students identify new species by their common name and then subsequently carryout online research to find out their scientific ones (adapted from: Translation urgency in our climate-challenged times: co-producing geographical knowledge on El Niño in Peru).

Despite heightened levels of disaster awareness in Piura, the ‘mega El Niño’ did not materialise in December 2023/January 2024 and as a result, student were able to carry out field visits uninterrupted the results of which they have shared here:

With students’ participation, the project is working towards a fish identification guide that will help serve to take advantage of the fishing opportunities that will appear when the next extended period of heavy rains again fill-up the La Niña lagoon in the desert.

Click below for videos produced by Daniel Alcides Carrión