60 - 90 minutes

Students will simulate a commercial fishing operation to learn the importance of managing commercial fisheries in an ecologically sustainable manner.


Background information on fisheries management strategies may be found in the Fact Sheet: Fisheries Management.

This lesson may be better carried out in an outdoor space as it requires some set-up space and for students to move around.

The set-up layout for this lesson can be found in Teacher Resource Sheet: Fishing Chasey Game Set-up.

You will also need to print multiple copies of Teacher Resource Sheets: Juvenile fish template and Adult fish template for your region (either northern or southern). You will require ~90 individual juvenile fish and ~60 individual adult fish.

You will likely need to run through a mock version of the game with your students as a starting point.

You may chose to adapt the game to include more commercial or recreational fishers or implement fisheries management strategies after the first cycle of the game.


  1. Set up the playing area referring to Teacher Resource Sheet: Fishing Chasey Game Set-up with the assistance of students. The size of the playing area is dependent on student numbers and abilities.
    • Position eight markers in a large rectangle to form the playing area.
    • Position two markers to designate the ‘Caught Fish Area’ on one side of the rectangle playing area.
    • On the same side, place three sets of two buckets labelled ‘juvenile fish’ and ‘adult fish’.
    • Evenly distribute juvenile and adult fish among the respective buckets.
    • At either end of the playing area place an empty bucket for the commercial fishery licensed operator.
  2. Explain the rules of the game (as follows):
    • Two students are chosen to play commercial fishers. Distinguish them using a reflective vest or other clothing as well as their respective catch bucket. The remainder of students are fish.
    • The teacher is the Fishery Manager.
    • All players, including commercial fisheries may use the entire playing area during the game.
    • The game is played until stopped by the Fisheries Manager.
    • Commercial fishers – Commercial fishers start in the middle of the playing area and catch fish by gently tagging other students (fish) with their hand. The tagged student must drop their fish into the correct commercial fisher’s catch bucket.
    • Juvenile fish – All students begin the game as a juvenile fish. With a juvenile fish template in hand, students must complete one lap (across and back) to simulate growing from a juvenile to an adult If completed without being caught, student swap their juvenile fish for an adult fish. If caught, student placed their fish in the respective commercial fisher’s bucket and stands in the ‘Caught Fish Area’.
    • Adult fish – With an adult fish template in hand, students must complete one lap (across and back) to simulate migration and If completed without being caught, students can tag a   student waiting the in the ‘Caught Fish Area’ to re-enter the game as a juvenile fish. Continue completing laps of the fishing area. If caught, student placed their fish in the respective commercial fisher’s bucket and stands in the ‘Caught Fish Area’.
  3. Run the game with the students. Pause the game as required, reinforcing rules.
  4. At the completion of the game, debrief with the students to illustrate the purpose behind the game.
  5. Inspect the commercial fishers catch. How much was caught? What was the size composition?
  6. What would happen if all the juvenile fish were caught? How could juvenile fish be protected? How could adult fish be protected prior to spawning?
  7. What would happen to the fishery is there was no limit on the number of commercial fishers allowed to fish there? What are some of the ways in which commercial fisheries are controlled? What if recreational fishers were also accessing the same fishery? How could the available catch be shared between these two sectors?
  8. Explain the concept and benefits of managing a fishery in a sustainable way.


Adult (fish), catch commercial fishing, CPUE, effort, fishery, GPS, juvenile (fish), overfishing, population, recreational fishing, recruitment, sustainable yield, total allowable catch