Traditional fishing is an integral part of many people’s cultural fabric around the world, providing employment and supporting economic and social wellbeing within communities.
Traditional Fishing refers to small-scale commercial or subsistence fishing practices that rely on local knowledge, experience and skills as well as basic equipment. This form of fishing does not necessitate licenses or certification and does not require special equipment.
Sports such as sailing may also be conducted according to regulations set in place to protect marine life.
Fishing is typically done from shore or a boat, using a line and hook. These lines are typically constructed out of strong materials such as nylon or Kevlar and can either be baited with baitfish or left unbaited.
Traditional fishing techniques around the world utilize a range of tools, some centuries old or relatively recent. Examples include hand-lining, spearfishing, gleaning, harpoons and spears, barriers, and trap fishing.
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Gleaning or net fishing is a popular method of collecting resources from the water, particularly along tidal flats and mangrove areas during low tide. This work is mostly done by women, children and older fishermen who cannot travel far from their villages.
Another traditional fishing technique, ice fishing, has been practiced in Arctic regions for centuries. This involves using a rod weighted with lure and throwing it through an opening in the ice to catch fish such as Arctic char (Clupea salmon).
Traditional methods of fishing include trap fishing, which is carried out by trained cormorants or other birds to capture prey such as bluefin tuna. These birds act like ‘underwater missiles’ and can bring in an abundant number of fish – enough to feed an entire village!
Capturing a large number of fish can, however, result in bycatch – the taking of other species not intended to be caught. This poses an issue because it has the potential to negatively affect wildlife populations.
Bycatch occurs to a variety of species, such as turtles, sharks, birds and marine mammals. Furthermore, bycatch can have an adverse effect on human health and safety.
Purse seining, for instance, is a type of commercial fisheries that can ensnare and kill numerous types of wildlife. This practice has the potential to cause the loss of thousands of marine animals – an impact which could be devastating.
Overfishing is a type of commercial fishing that causes extensive harm to fish populations. It may occur when fishermen capture many fish at once and release them, or take large numbers of wildlife such as whales and dolphins from the ocean faster than they can reproduce.
Overfishing is not a sustainable form of fishing and should be taken into account in terms of its long-term effects on ecosystems and human populations. Such effects include habitat loss, pollution and depletion in fish stocks – all with detrimental repercussions for humans.