Fishing: Then and Now

Category: General Article

The ancient Egyptians documented every part of their society’s daily life, including the importance of fishing. As a civilization centered around the Nile River and next to the Mediterranean Sea, fishing was both a way to feed the masses and an important component of Egypt’s economy. But archaeologists now believe humans were fishing long before the rise of the great ancient civilizations like Egypt, with the earliest examples dating back as much as 40,000 years. Human ancestors may have used simple spears or fish-hooks carved out of stone to supplement their hunter-gatherer diets. Others wove nets out of plant fibers or captured fish and invertebrates by hand in tide pools. Some early people, such as the Hawaiians, actually created a sophisticated aquaculture. On the island of Kaua’i, you can still visit stone reservoirs in which the natives reared captive fish – a predecessor to the modern fish hatchery.

While it’s likely that most of these early examples of fishing were carried out to feed people, certainly some enjoyed the practice as well. According to 2011 figures by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, recreational fishing is a hugely popular outdoor pasttime with an estimated 33 million Americans participating. Recreational fishermen are different from commercial fishermen in that their participation is not a job or career, but usually something they do for fun or relaxation. This type of outdoor activity can also help build appreciation and understanding of nature, different animal species and conservation needs.

Related Information: Fishing | On The Line With Nearshore Fishing