Fishery can mean either the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life; or more commonly, the site where such enterprise takes place (a.k.a. fishing ground). Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and fish farms, both in freshwater bodies (about 10% of all catch) and the oceans (about 90%).
In the maritime context, a "fishery" refers to an area of water where fish and other marine species are caught or harvested for commercial, recreational, or subsistence purposes. It encompasses the activities related to fishing, including the capture, processing, and distribution of fish and seafood products. Fisheries play a vital role in providing food, livelihoods, and economic opportunities for coastal communities and contribute to the overall sustainability of marine ecosystems. Let's explore the concept of fisheries in the maritime context with examples and mention some similar terms.
1. Commercial Fisheries:
- Industrial Trawlers: Industrial trawlers are large fishing vessels equipped with trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed or through the water column to catch fish. They are commonly used in deep-sea fishing and for capturing species such as cod, haddock, and shrimp.
- Purse Seiners: Purse seiners are fishing vessels that deploy a large net, called a purse seine, around a school of fish and then close the bottom of the net to capture the fish inside. They are commonly used for catching species such as tuna, sardines, and herring.
- Longliners: Longliners are fishing vessels that deploy a long line with multiple baited hooks to catch fish. They are commonly used for targeting species such as tuna, swordfish, and halibut. Longlining is often associated with commercial deep-sea fishing.
- Gillnetters: Gillnetters use gillnets, which are vertical nets suspended in the water column to entangle fish by their gills. Gillnetters are commonly used for catching species such as salmon, trout, and walleye.
2. Artisanal and Small-Scale Fisheries:
- Small-Scale Coastal Fisheries: Small-scale coastal fisheries involve fishing activities carried out by local communities using small boats, traditional fishing gear, and simple techniques. These fisheries often target a variety of species found near the coastline, such as shellfish, crabs, small fish, and mollusks.
- Handline Fishing: Handline fishing is a traditional fishing method where a single fishing line with a baited hook is used to catch fish. It is a common practice in artisanal and subsistence fisheries, often practiced from small boats or the shore.
- Trap Fisheries: Trap fisheries utilize traps or pots, which are containers made of mesh or wire, to capture fish and other marine organisms. The traps are designed to allow entry but prevent escape, making them effective for catching species like lobsters, crabs, and shrimp.
3. Recreational Fisheries:
- Sport Fishing: Sport fishing refers to recreational fishing activities pursued for leisure, enjoyment, and sport. It involves individuals or groups fishing for pleasure, often with catch-and-release practices. Common sport fish species include bass, trout, salmon, marlin, and tarpon.
- Charter Fishing: Charter fishing involves hiring a fishing vessel and crew for recreational fishing purposes. Anglers charter boats to access fishing grounds and target specific species under the guidance of experienced captains and crew.
Similar terms and concepts related to fisheries in the maritime context include:
- Aquaculture: Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, involves the cultivation of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants in controlled environments such as ponds, tanks, or ocean enclosures. It is a form of agriculture that contributes to seafood production and reduces pressure on wild fish stocks.
- Fish Stock Assessment: Fish stock assessment refers to the scientific evaluation of fish populations, including their abundance, distribution, growth rates, and reproductive capacity. It helps determine the health and sustainability of fish stocks and informs fisheries management decisions.
- Fisheries Management: Fisheries management encompasses the policies, regulations, and practices implemented to ensure the sustainable use of fishery resources. It involves setting catch limits, implementing fishing quotas, establishing protected areas, and monitoring fishing activities to maintain healthy fish populations and ecosystems.
- Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): MPAs are designated areas in the ocean where fishing and other human activities are restricted or prohibited to conserve marine biodiversity and restore fish stocks. MPAs serve as sanctuaries for marine species and contribute to the overall sustainability of fisheries.
Fisheries are of significant socio-economic importance, providing food security, employment, and income generation for millions of people worldwide. Sustainable fisheries management practices are essential to maintain the productivity and resilience of marine ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, and ensure the long-term viability of fishery resources for present and future generations.