Humans rely on fish and marine life for food security, a source of income, and even recreation. Knowing about the history of fishing and the development of our relationship can help future generations indulge in the importance of our activities. Thus, bringing consciousness about the evolution of fishing activities.
Fish, marine life, and the concept of fishing can be acknowledged by two schools of thought:
The first school of thought emphasizes the ethical value of fish as animals and advocates for minimal or no fishing to allow populations to recover. The goal is to restore fish populations to their historical levels and treat fish similarly to other animal species.
The second school of thought considers fish primarily as a resource for human consumption and economic benefits. Sustainability, from this perspective, means catching as much fish as possible without depleting populations beyond a certain threshold called the “maximum sustainable yield.” This approach aims to balance the needs of the current generation with the needs of future generations, ensuring an ongoing supply of fish without overexploiting the resource.
History of Fishing
Fishing can be traced back to prehistoric times. Early humans relied on fishing as a means of sustenance, using primitive tools such as spears, nets, and hooks made from bone or stone to catch fish in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Posteriorly, Fishing became crucial for the development of ancient civilizations, such as ancient Egypt and the Roman and Greek empires. During the middle ages, fishing was essential for food security in monastic communities around Europe. Furthermore, as seafaring and exploration expanded during the Renaissance, fishing became prominent in coastal communities, mainly in Europe. As the Industrial Revolution came into place, in the 18th century, it incited technological changes such as steam-powered ships, mechanized fishing equipment, and steam trawlers. Thus, the latter revolutionalized commercial fishing, allowing fishermen to catch larger quantities of fish. In the 20th century fishing activities expanded rapidly with the development of motorized boats, advanced navigation systems, and improved fishing gear. Industrial-scale fishing operations emerged, leading to concerns about overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks in some areas.
Types of fishing
Fishing activities happen in various places: Oceans, rivers, lakes and reservoirs, ponds and small water bodies, estuaries and deltas, coral reefs, and inland fisheries. Moreover, fishing can be classified into various types based on the techniques, equipment, and target species involved. Here are some common types of fishing:
- Recreational Fishing: This is fishing done for pleasure or sport. It includes activities such as angling, fly fishing, ice fishing, and shore fishing, where individuals or small groups catch fish for personal enjoyment rather than commercial purposes.
- Commercial Fishing: This type of fishing is carried out on a larger scale to catch fish and other marine species for commercial purposes, such as selling in markets or supplying to restaurants and processing facilities. It involves various methods, including trawling, purse seining, longlining, gillnetting, and pot fishing.
- Subsistence Fishing: Also known as traditional or artisanal fishing, subsistence fishing is practiced by small-scale or indigenous communities to meet their basic food needs. It typically involves using simple equipment like nets, traps, and spears in rivers, lakes, or coastal areas.
These are just a few examples of the many types of fishing practices that exist worldwide. Fishing techniques can vary greatly depending on the geographical location, target species, cultural traditions, and regulations governing fishing activities.