Terrascopers Explore Iceland’s Fisheries, Landscape and Culture

By Ari Epstein, Lecturer, Earth Systems Initiative

For Terrascopers, the Spring Break trip to Iceland served as a culmination of the work Terrascope students did in the fall, as a source of inspiration for their spring projects [as seen in the previous article] and as a community-building experience, bringing together the freshmen, upper-class and graduate students, faculty members and staff. The Terrascope theme for 2007-8 was oceans, and in particular the state of the world’s fisheries, so Terrascopers had spent the fall semester in Subject 12.000 (Solving Complex Problems, taught by Professors Sam Bowring and Rafael Bras) developing a complex proposal for managing fish stocks around the globe.

 The visit to Iceland, whose fishery-management policies and techniques are often held up as a model of effectiveness, gave students a reality check on the ideas they had presented in the fall, as they met with fishermen, scientists, fish processors, government officials and others. It also gave them new perspectives on a controversial fishing practice: whaling, in which Iceland is one of the few nations that continues to participate actively. Beyond that, it gave them the chance to observe Iceland’s remarkable progress in sustainable-energy development, as well as the country’s striking and active landscape, and to meet some of the nicest and most helpful people encountered on any Terrascope trip. The results of those experiences were clearly visible in the students’ museum exhibits and radio program.

From the Students’ Viewpoint
Student trip blogs: http://scripts.mit.edu/~brehm/icelandblog/