Case Studies in Fisheries Conservation and Management: Applied Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Case 10: CSI Fisheries: The Case of the Dead Trout

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874189.ch10

You’re working the fisheries beat of your city’s Crime Scene Investigation lab. After months of doing nothing but sitting at your computer playing solitaire, the phone finally rings…

“Hi. This is Bob, from Insur-o-matic. I need a fish expert.”

You contemplate dashing to a phone booth to change into your cape and tights, but instead you just reply, “What can I help you with today, Bob?”

“My insurance client has a small fish pond. This summer, he had to refill a pond that he had drained, so he diverted most of the water from a small creek for about an hour. The owner of a downstream rainbow trout farm claims that this killed 25,000 of his trout, and he wants $75,000 in damages. This wasn’t the first or last time that my client diverted water from the creek this summer, and there weren’t any problems any other time. Was my client responsible for the fish kill? Do we need to pay the trout farm owner $75,000?”

Like any good CSI agent, you start trying to fill in the missing pieces of this case. What do you still need to know to figure out if Bob’s client was solely or partially responsible for the fish kill? Is $75,000 for damages a reasonable request? Your teacher has answers to some of the questions specific to this case that were provided by the insurance agent. Other questions you will need to research yourself.

Like most investigations, we will never know all the details of what happened and why. Try not to get caught up with the small details. Instead, focus on key issues relating to fish kills.