|A fisherman is a person who engages in fishing, as recreation or as a
profession. Recreational fishing is basically for pleasure and may involve a
competition to see who can land the largest catch (total weight of fish
caught). Most forms of recreational fishing are carried out using a rod,
reel, line and hooks with various types of bait such as worms, maggots and,
dough or anything the fisherman, thinks will attract fish. Artificial bait
such as lures and flies are also used. Fishermen who engage in this type of
fishing are generally called anglers. Recreational fishing is also subject
to regulations and licensing laws, which vary from country to country.
Sport or big-game fishing is also recreational, but describes fishing from
boats to catch large fish including tuna, marlin and sharks. This sport
often involves the fisherman being strapped into a seat to prevent him being
Commercial fishing is totally different from recreational fishing and is one
of the world’s most dangerous occupations. Commercial fishermen have to
venture far out to sea, often for several days on end and under adverse
conditions. Sought-after catches are not limited to fish but include seafood
such as prawns, squid, lobster etc.
Commercial fishing methods include:
Long lines, where up to 100 km of lines, with thousands of baited hooks, are
dragged along behind the boat or kept afloat overnight by buoys.
Gill nets, weighted at the bottom and held in a vertical position by buoys.
Fish are unable to see the net and become trapped by their gills or fins as
they try to escape.
||Purse seines, used primarily to catch tuna. The fishermen track the fish and
drop a net to surround the school of tuna, before drawing the edges of the
net together and trapping the fish.
Trawling involves dragging a huge bag-shaped net along the sea bed and
catching anything in its path.
Many of today’s sea-going fishing boats are very efficient floating
factories, processing tons of fish ready for the market place.
Unfortunately, whilst commercial fishermen are only out to catch fish that
are marketable, the above methods also catch and kill tens of thousands of
fish and other sea creatures with no commercial value. Overfishing has long
been a major concern. According to surveys carried out between 2000 and
2010, some 85% of the world’s oceans are seriously overfished, with only
about 10% of large fish such as tuna, marlin and swordfish now remaining.
Despite this, many governments continue to subsidise fishing fleets to
enable fishermen to sustain or even increase their activities.
Fishing quotas are issued by many governments to regulate fishing. These
quotas can be bought, sold and leased and generally regulate the total catch
allowed by weight over a certain period. However, there is a downside: fish
in the catch are often too small to meet regulations and must be thrown back
into the sea. Unfortunately by the time they reach the water, they are