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Trawlers in Scotland
Fishermen in Bangladesh

When fishing , fishing industry or fishing is defined as the industries that deal with the capture or breeding of fish deal and other aquatic animals for food production and processing. Fisheries are part of the primary economic sector , which also includes agriculture and mining . This article is primarily concerned with sea fishing ( deep sea fishing and inshore fishing). But the inland fisheries (including, especially fishing in rivers and lakes as well as fish farming ) and fishing are part of areas of fishing. The aquaculture , breeding of aquatic organisms, is a special form of fishing. Fishing and fish farming make up the bulk of the fishery. Whaling is only practiced on a small scale today. Fishing also includes the catching and breeding of marine invertebrates , including mussels , crabs , prawns and other crustaceans . Reliable and long-term fisheries research, as carried out in Germany, for example, is important for sustainable fishing . B. is operated by the Federal Research Institute for Fisheries , which forms the basis for long-term fisheries management. Non-commercial fishing, in which biological marine resources are exploited, for example in the context of recreational activities, tourism or sport, is called recreational fishing .

Animal groups in fisheries

The main efforts of sea fishing are aimed at a relatively small number of bony fish families such as herring (Clupeidae) and cod (Gadidae), which include cod . Mackerel and tuna (Scombridae) are also very important economically .

The meat of cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays , which are a by-product (bycatch) of net and line fishing, is widely popular. From the liver , especially of large species (eg. B. Greenland ) is vitamin- Tran recovered. The skin, interspersed with placoid scales , is used for sanding wood and for making leather, the belly lobes of the dogfish are smoked and sold as curls .

The catch of marine mammals ( whales ) is also part of the fishery. However, whaling is only practiced by a few countries today.

Invertebrates such as molluscs ( Mollusca ) and crustaceans ( Crustacea ) are also caught, the proportion of which, as far as this is statistically recorded at all, looks modest compared to the fish. Among the economically important mollusks, mussels such as oysters , mussels and scallops predominate, which are also farmed in temperate zones. The numerous large crabs that are fished such as lobster , lobster , Norway lobster and lobster are all considered delicacies, as are crabs and prawns (see also crab fishing ).

History of fishing

The gathering of marine shellfish is already documented by the paleolithic clam heaps, the Køkkenmøddinger . The first known clam piles, which also contained stone tools, were dated to an age of 164,000 years in the Pinnacle Point cave on the Indian Ocean in South Africa; older finds come, for example, from Terra Amata near Nice and are around 400,000 years old (Paola Villa 1983).

Fishing gear has been known since the early Paleolithic. The oldest recorded fishing to date took place in Katanda on the Seemliki River in the Rift Valley in Zaire . In addition to harpoons, the bones of a two-meter-long catfish were found here, which are dated to an age of 90,000 years. In the Middle Paleolithic, fishing was rarely found. In a cave in the Caucasus , salmon residues made up about 75% of the approximately 22,000 recovered bones. A fireplace suggests human activity. Images of fish were made in French caves and on small works of art 35,000–10,000 years ago. There were fishing tackles made of bone and horn. In addition to trout and pike, salmon were caught on fish migration (e.g. spawning migration). They could be caught with hands, with fish spears and fish forks, or with nets, particularly easily when dragging upstream.

Clear references to fishing with fishing tackle, fish spears, harpoons, net swimmers , net sinkers , nets and fencing appeared from the Mesolithic , in Northern Europe at the Ertebølle culture , around 5100 to 4100 BC. A fish trap made from hazel rods in southern Sweden dates from around 7000 BC. Now there are also references to fishing from boats. Evidence for this are the remains of fish species that only occur in the open sea. By the end of the Neolithic Age, most of the fishing gear still in use today existed.

The remains of caught fish that are up to 42,000 years old were found in the Jerimalai Cave in East Timor . Half of the species come from the high seas, so humans probably already had the ability to fish far from the coast. In addition, the fragments of the oldest known fish hook were found . It was made from the shell of a sea snail and is between 16,000 and 23,000 years old. The inhabitants of Jerimalai used it to fish in the coastal waters, which at that time had become richer in fish due to the formation of coral reefs.

In the Middle Ages and in the early modern period, so-called “little fish books” with instructions on how to fish were written and reprinted again and again until the 18th century (beginning in 1493 with Jakob Köbel in Heidelberg and Mathis or Matthias Hupfuff (1497 / 98–1520) in Strasbourg in 1498) . These texts, which also contain fish- related content, contain, among other things, fish bait recipes and information on the best fishing times (seasons) for the various fish species. The first handwritten “Fish Orders” (“Vish Orders”, which were mainly applicable to the Danube and its tributaries) in Bavaria were published (issued by the Dukes Albrecht and Georg ) between 1484 and 1500, and printed Bavarian fish orders appeared in dragonfly form between 1528 and 1616 .


The oldest systems (devices) for fishing are likely to have been fish traps , i.e. structures that initially guide fish into a basin , but then make their way back difficult or even completely blocked. The remains of 9000 year old hazel rods from fish traps were found in the sea at the mouth of the Verkeån river in the province of Skåne in southern Sweden.

Fish spear

The fish spear (or the lyster) is usually used to stab smaller fish from the bank or dugout canoe. The fish is pierced by the spear and retrieved with a gaff . There will have been spears with wooden tips, as they are from later times in prehistory. The Paleolithic fish spears, made from bone and horn and therefore better preserved, received one or two rows of barbs in the course of development. The oldest tips were barbed in a single row, such as the Mesolithic fish spears from Glindenberg (Saxony-Anhalt), some were also smooth. Single-row tips with convex-concave teeth, which were used until the time of the bell -shaped beaker culture , were common. Multi-point spears had tips attached to the shaft with bast. The two-pointed lyster was found in Germany in Rosenhof and Siggeneben in over a hundred copies. The fish spear, which was widespread in the Mesolithic, was used to catch eel. When investigating the route to the Fehmarnbelt tunnel, archaeologists found evidence that Stone Age people, similar to modern humans, caught eels with three-point pricks.


The tips of the harpoon are only loosely attached to the shaft. Harpoons were mainly used for fishing for pike and catfish. It was also used to hunt marine mammals, seals and porpoises on the coast . The shafts will mostly have been spindle-shaped in order to have good throwing properties. The harpoons of the Paleolithic, made from bone and horn, received one or two rows of barbs in the course of development. Sufficiently deep penetration of the tip into the prey depends on the force of the throw. The tip detaches from the shaft. The connection to the prey is held by a leash. The barbs should prevent the point from becoming dislodged from the animal's flesh.


Fish spear from Rugholm

A specialized fishing gear was the lyster or eel fork , which has been found in over 100 preserved specimens at the two sites ( Rosenhof and Siggeneben ) in Germany. The fish spear , which was widespread in the Mesolithic, was used to catch eel. With this fishing gear, eels could be captured mainly in the winter rigor. The lyster was used to pierce the muddy bottom of a body of water, with eels being pinched or skewered in the recess between the flexible shawls. Attached to the end of the shaft are two wooden tips made of hardwood, called outwardly curved shawls. A bone thorn is attached to the shaft between them. The youngest Lyster in Northern Germany comes from Siggeneben in the Ostholstein district . The dating of this find is 3200 BC. Chr.


Whalers around 1900, small steamship with harpoon cannon in the St. Lawrence River

The Tran of the whale was an important raw material for artificial lighting. It was also used to produce soaps, ointments, soups, paints, gelatine and edible fats (e.g. margarine ) as well as shoe and leather care products. Whale oil was originally needed to make nitroglycerin . Even after the First World War , the British army command said: "Without the whale oil, the government would not have been able to fight both the food battle and the ammunition battle."

The sperm whale was due to present in his mind spermaceti and the rare Ambras particularly strong in the 19th century mainly by American whalers from Nantucket hunted and decimated a large part in stock. The ambergris, which possibly consists of the indigestible remains of squid in the intestines of the sperm whale, was an important raw material in the perfume industry of that time . The whale rat is suitable for the production of particularly brightly burning candles , for cleaning laundry, for the production of cosmetics and as a lubricant . From the 17th century whalebone was made from the whalebones of the baleen whales , preferably the blue whale , until stiff but elastic plastics (e.g. nylon ) and light spring stainless steels replaced the renewable material in the 20th century .

In the beginning the whale was hunted in small, sturdy row boats with a crew of six to eight men, and killed with hand harpoons and lances. The whale hunted was then dragged alongside the whaling ship and slimmed down there. Everything else was left to the seagulls and predatory fish.

Around 1840 there were around 900 fishing vessels, which in successful years killed up to 10,000 whales. The average American whaler in the 19th century carried about 20 to 30 men. The ships carried up to six boats including reserves. Usually three to four boats, each manned by six sailors, were used in the hunt. Only one or two men were left behind to guard the ship during the hunt. Even “skilled workers” like the ship's cook or ship's carpenter had to get into the boats to hunt and row. The bacon of the captured whales was already boiled into oil on the ship and filled into barrels. A normal fishing trip lasted around two to four years depending on the yield and shelf life of the stocks.

The German construction of a harpoon cannon , which was installed on a Norwegian whaling steamer around 1863, made it possible to hunt the faster blue whale and fin whale . The harpoon received a grenade head. The exploding grenade killed the whale faster. Around 1935 this device was improved again by passing an electric current through the harpoon line, which immediately stunned the animal. Nevertheless, the invention of petroleum in 1859, which has uses similar to whale oil , almost brought the catch to a standstill in the medium term. It was not until the invention of margarine , the most important raw material of which was initially whale oil, that the industry rose again. As a raw material for nitroglycerin, it became interesting at the beginning of the 20th century as part of global armament.

In the 1930s it was recognized that the whale population was endangered by the heavy hunting. In 1930/1931 alone, 30,000 blue whales were killed, more than there are today in all oceans. The League of Nations passed an agreement to limit whaling in 1931, which came into force in 1935. However, this agreement was hardly effective. Around three million whales were hunted throughout the 20th century.

Fishing techniques and methods

Fishing boat and nets in the
museum shipyard in Flensburg
Remnants of the fishery production cooperative of sea and coastal fishermen , which are still in use today on the island of Poel

In the long history of fishing, many fishing techniques and methods have been developed, which can be roughly divided into fishing in certain depths and types of water and the fishing method used.

Each fishing method consists of two phases,

  1. the control of fish behavior, these are all measures that cause a change of location of the fish by pathogens:
    1. Attract
    2. Scaring off
    3. indifference
  2. capturing the snap object
    1. Meshing (hooking with the gills)
    2. Labyrinth (trap-like devices)
    3. Straining (landing net or trawl)
    4. Hook (fish hook or harpoon)
    5. Suction (fish pump)

Specially made nets are pulled by the fishing vessels through the water or along the seabed. The fish caught in the nets are pulled on board the ship, where they are often already processed, e.g. B. on frozen goods .

Net fishing

Steerks on a pier

There are two categories of net fishing, passive and active. The passive includes gillnets and drift nets , which are laid out like vertical curtains. The upper edge of the net (Obersimms) is provided with floats (liquors, glass balls, cork, plastic floats), the lower edge (Untersimms) is weighted down with weights (countersink, iron chains, lead, etc.). If these are heavier than the buoyancy of the swimmers, the net sits down on the seabed as a so-called gill net. In the case of a less stressed sub-sea, the net can float as a drift net on the surface or at a desired depth. Passive is understood to mean that the nets are stationary and that the fish usually get caught in the net with their gills or fins, whereby the mesh size determines the prey caught (e.g. cod, flatfish). The drift nets are used to catch pelagic species (herring, mackerel, salmon, cod-like etc.). So-called Gadder, mirror or three-wall nets are also used, which consist of two or three adjacent nets. The actual safety net (inner thread) is tightly meshed. A wide-meshed net (mirror) is hung in front of these on one or both sides. The fish swimming through the wide mesh gets caught in the loose inner thread that surrounds it in the shape of a sack, whereby the outer nets prevent it from escaping.

In active net fishing, trawls are used like barges. Purse seine, which is only used in surface layers, is used specifically against swarms (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, herrings, sprats) that are perceived visually or with an echo sounder . These are circumnavigated with a fast boat which, starting from a stationary buoy or a dinghy, extends a net up to 500 m long on a circular path . When the boat has reached its starting point again, so that the swarm is trapped inside the purse seine, which is still open at the bottom, the lower part is pulled together by means of a lacing line. The now closed net is hauled in with a power block until the prey huddled in the bowl-shaped net can be exhausted.

Full trawl on board a stern catcher

The trawls are large funnel-shaped bags that are towed by either one or two boats ( trawlers ) on two (trawl lines). The mouth of the net is kept open by swimmers lifting the upper edge of the net opening and weights pulling the lower edge (ground rope with roller harness) down. There are otter boards attached to the hoist rope, which drift outwards so that the net remains open to the sides. The tree network ( beam trawl , trawl beam) of the network mouth is kept open by a horizontal tree. The pelagic swimming trawl (Flydetrawl) used in herring fishing, usually towed by two boats, works at any desired depth. The bottom trawls slide over the ground with the bottom rope and the lower sheet with the so-called steerk (cod end) and pick up everything that comes into the area of ​​the net mouth. The use of bottom trawls requires clean, obstacle-free ground.

Angling or bait fishing

Bamboo fishing for tuna (Azores)

In 2012 in East Timor, scientists unearthed fossils and 42,000-year-old Stone Age fishing gear that was suitable for sea fishing. While fishing near the coast and in rivers and lakes was already done around 140,000 years ago, it was assumed that people only started fishing in the open sea 12,000 years ago. The fishhook , one of the oldest fishing tackle, plays an important role in commercial fishing. In the trolling (Darrfischerei) one or more fishing lines are behind a moving boat tightened in which at small intervals fishing hook with natural bait or bait spin ( turn signals , Pilke ) are attached. Otter boards and weights (deep fishing rods) ensure the necessary distance between the dragged lines for catching pelagic fish (e.g. mackerel). They are particularly common where the nature of the ground does not permit the use of trawls. The longlines are often kilometers long, on the horizontal lines, which are hung from swimmers or anchored to the ground, shorter ropes (snoods, rigs ) are attached with baited fishing rods at intervals of one to three meters . Sharks, eels, cod, redfish or flatfish are caught with the longlines, depending on the depth at which the rods are.

Trap fishing

Fish traps

Fish traps are traps that attract animals living close to the ground with bait or use other means to guide them into the fish trap. A basket trap is made of wood, wicker or metal and usually has a cylindrical or square shape with one or two funnel-shaped openings. These are designed in such a way that the animal can easily get into the fish trap, but prevent it from escaping in the opposite direction. The traps are equipped with bait and deposited on the seabed and later retrieved with a line attached to a surface float. They are used to catch invertebrates (e.g. lobster, lobster, crab, shrimp) and benthic fish (e.g. eels, cod-like). The category of fish traps also includes nets that are permanently attached to the bottom and are arranged in such a way that ( pelagic ) fish living in the open water are guided into a collecting trap by means of guide nets via one or more net chambers lined up one behind the other. Large systems of this type, known as Tonnara , were used to catch tuna on the Italian coast.

Plumbing after fishing

For centuries the fisherman was in a sense groping in the dark while catching, but certain empirical values ​​helped him catch fish. If flocks of seabirds appeared, schools of fish were likely to be in the vicinity. The appearance of dolphins indicated schools of herring . Nowadays schools of fish are located with the help of an echo sounder that works with ultrasonic waves . Their frequency is above the upper hearing threshold (> 16,000 Hz). They spread in the water at a speed of 1500 m / s (in the air only at about 330 m / s). If the emitted sound wave hits places with a changed density, i.e. a solid object, the sea floor, schools of fish, layers of water with a different temperature or layers of salt, part of the energy is reflected and returned to the transmitter. The distance to the reflective body is determined by measuring time. A horizontal-vertical plumb bob (HC plumb bob) can also be used to scan the water in front of the ship, so that schools of fish can be followed and the net position can be adjusted to the position of the school.

Dolphin hunt

Dolphin hunt (drive fishery) is the catching and killing of small whales and dolphins in the manner of a drive hunt, which is mainly carried out in Japan . It takes place annually from October to April in remote coastal communities. Another form of driven hunt ( called grindadráp ) takes place in the Faroe Islands . Around 1,000 pilot whales are killed here every year .

When a school of dolphins is sighted, the fishermen go out, drive the animals together and cut off their escape route with a sound barrier . The sound is generated with iron rods that are held in the water by the fishermen and worked with a hammer. The resulting noise prevents the dolphins from communicating with one another and makes them flee into a bay in a panic. Once caught in the lagoon or bay, their way back into the open sea is blocked with nets. A few animals are selected for dolphinariums , zoos and amusement parks , but the majority are then killed with sharp hoes and knives. Estimates assume around 20,000 animals. Because of the type of killing, this type of fishing is internationally outlawed.

Fishing with the help of animals

Many animal species can be easily domesticated and are therefore used to catch other species.


The cormorant fishing is in China a traditional method. It is also widespread in the surrounding countries and is particularly used in Japan , where it is still presented today as a sight. Only in China has the method of fishing with cormorants achieved economic importance. In their youth, the birds are trained for 7–8 months and should then be usable for a decade. From small boats or rafts, the fishermen let up to a dozen birds dive for fish in calm waters, which they then bring up individually or in groups of people, gathered in the throat pouch. A neck ring that narrows the esophagus allows them to swallow only small fish or - as a reward and encouragement - to swallow pieces of fish. A leash, sometimes attached to this neck ring, sometimes attached to the leg, leads either to a float (in China) or to the fisherman's hand (in Japan).

The otter was brought to a special skill in driving fish . Like a dog, it develops a similar relationship of dependency to humans and can drive fish into the area of ​​cast and sink nets. See otter fishing . On the other hand, geese and ducks are very involuntarily used as floats for fishing fish, which are supposed to tempt the pike to bite with a line on the wing . As soon as a fish bites the frightened animal tries to fly away and sometimes even brings the catch ashore.

Another method of fishing with animals is fishing using the ship holder ( Echeneis naucrates ) to catch sea ​​turtles or larger sharks . It is held with a leash tied to its tail and pulled out of the water as soon as the animal draws on the prey.

Fishing with the help of plant poisons

Fishing with the help of plant toxins is also common. In all cases, the plant parts are chopped up, sometimes boiled, and then spread over the water in dough or paste form using other binding agents (e.g. flour , clay ). This form of fish hunting is mostly used in the dry season when lakes and rivers are drying up, less often in shallow seas at low water and near coral reefs . Collecting, catching or spearing fish floating on the surface is then easy. The poison does not harm fish consumption (with certain exceptions), just as mammals eat the same plants without any bad consequences, e.g. B. Cyclamen tuber , which is highly toxic to fish (pork bread (tuber of cyclamen)).

The use of plant poisons is said to be very widespread today, especially in the Amazon basin in South America . Here is Schmetterlingsblütler Tephrosia toxicana in use. Tephrosia and its subspecies are also used for fishing in parts of Africa . In some places these species are even cultivated specifically for fishing purposes. Other plants used are the legumes , which are of the greatest importance in this regard. The plants used also include the various species of Derris ( Rotenone ), which play a role in South Asia and Oceania . Rotenone is used to clear small bodies of water. In Europe you plant toxins that used spurge - mullein and nightshade family .

Other fishing techniques

Fish farms

Aquaculture for rearing salmon off Vestmanna , Faroe Islands

We can only speak of actual breeding in the sense of domestic animal breeding if the development cycle of a species takes place seamlessly under controlled conditions. This partly applies to the breeding of freshwater species (e.g. carp , trout ), where the eggs are artificially inseminated and the young animals are raised in enclosures and fattened. Attempts in this direction with marine fish have so far failed, since the marine species almost without exception go through decrepit planktonic larval stages, the keeping of which is associated with great difficulties. This is mainly due to the ignorance of the feeding habits of these larvae, their sensitivity to mechanical damage and susceptibility to infection. The management of marine food fish is therefore limited to the following measures:

  1. Preserve the natural stocks by issuing protected areas and protection regulations.
  2. Closed seasons during spawning and migration
  3. Definition of and compliance with catch quotas and minimum sizes of caught animals
  4. Another method that is beneficial for conservation is that the eggs of spawning fish caught in the sea are artificially inseminated. After embryonic development , the hatched larvae are released back into the sea.
  5. In the artificial mast, such. B. in the Buri (yellow tail) occurring in the Japanese Sea, juvenile fish caught in the sea are fattened in spacious net cages hanging between pontoons. Something similar is done with salmon on the coasts of North America and Northern Europe (mainly Scandinavia).

The most important fishing nations

Worldwide catches of fish since 1950

By far the most important fishing nation (measured by yield) is the People's Republic of China , followed by Indonesia , India and Vietnam . In Europe, Norway , Spain and Iceland have the largest catches.

The highest yields of fishing (including aquaculture) in 2016
rank country Yield
(in thousand t )
rank country Yield
(in thousand t)
01 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 81,500 11 NorwayNorway Norway 3,530
02 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 23,200 12 Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 3,255
03 IndiaIndia India 10,800 13 MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar 3,090
04th VietnamVietnam Vietnam 06,420 14th ChileChile Chile 2,879
05 United StatesUnited States United States 05,375 15th ThailandThailand Thailand 2,493
06th RussiaRussia Russia 04,947 16 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia 1,992
07th JapanJapan Japan 04,343 17th MexicoMexico Mexico 1,745
08th PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 04,228 18th EgyptEgypt Egypt 1,706
09 PeruPeru Peru 03,912 19th MoroccoMorocco Morocco 1,455
10 BangladeshBangladesh Bangladesh 03,878 20th BrazilBrazil Brazil 1,286

For comparison: Germany 313,000 tons ,
2012: 183,300 tons of sea fish, 71,100 tons of which in German waters

The fishery yield in 2015 was around 200 million tons worldwide.

The main fishing grounds in the North Atlantic

In the North Atlantic and its tributaries, sea fishing takes place almost without exception on the shelf near the coast at depths of up to 700 m. The location of the fishing grounds on the flat shelf is biologically determined, as the best conditions for favorable living conditions for the fish are given here.

place Fish species Fishing time
Barents Sea Cod , redfish , capelin May – November
Bear Island / Svalbard Cod , redfish April June
West Greenland cod March-June
East Greenland Redfish April – December
Iceland Cod , redfish , saithe , capelin all year round
Labrador Cod , redfish , halibut May – December
North Sea Herring , plaice July – October
Newfoundland Cod , redfish April – December
Norwegian coast coalfish June – December
Baltic Sea Herring , cod , sprat December – April
Georgesbank / USA shelf mackerel July – October
Gotland Sea / Baltic Sea Sprats December – April
Baffinland Grenadier fish July – January
English channel Shield mackerel all year round

Animal welfare as well as social and ecological aspects


The industrial fishing threatens the existence of many fish species. For example, cod , bigeye tuna and all three bluefin tuna species are threatened with extinction worldwide due to overfishing .

The damage to the fishery can be irreversible, as the famous example of the cod fishery off Canada's east coast shows: By the end of the 1960s, the annual catch had quadrupled to 800,000 tons, when the yields plummeted to below 200,000 tons within a few years . It was assumed that international competition had caused the damage, and in 1977 a 200-nautical-mile protection zone was established for Canadian fishermen. The domestic fishing industry was generously subsidized , but yields increased only minimally before collapsing completely around 1990 - cod stocks had not recovered. As a result, the Canadian government banned cod fishing in 1992, which resulted in the loss of nearly 30,000 fishery jobs. After violent arguments, the fishing ban was lifted in 1998 - but there was no more cod. The stocks had not recovered despite the fishing ban and many farms closed for good.

Further damage

Especially in driftnet fishing , which is illegal today , huge numbers of animals that were not considered salable and not needed were caught and killed. Disproportionately high bycatch rates (non-target fish species such as sharks and rays , but also seabirds such as various albatross species and frigate birds as well as sea ​​turtles and marine mammals ) also occur in other fisheries such as pelagic longline fishing , bottom trawling , when using beam trawls or in purse seine fisheries in the tropical Eastern Pacific on. Such bycatch is usually returned overboard or processed into fish meal.

Bottom trawl fisheries - particularly in the face of dwindling pelagic fish stocks strengthened operated use in the deep sea - or beam trawls devastate the seabed and destroy the existing there unique underwater ecosystems such as cold water coral reefs sustainable.

Northern gannets on Heligoland with nests made from old nets. At the bottom right is a dead gannet that was caught in a net.

Due to the pelagic longline fishery , all 21 albatross species and around 20% of all shark species are now endangered or acutely threatened with extinction .

When using trawls, numerous dolphins and whales get caught in the nets and drown, so the common dolphin in the Mediterranean is already endangered.

Old discarded or lost nets also pose an increasing threat to marine fauna. Since the nets made of plastic are theoretically indotable, these ghost nets continue to catch fish, marine mammals and sea birds that perish in agony. Remnants of these nets and other plastic waste are used by seabirds to build nests. These nest builders also suffer a painful death if they get caught in the nets.

Sounding after fish has negative effects on whales and dolphins, which use sound waves to communicate and orient themselves. Many are very irritated by the frequencies of the ships and are often stranded as a result.

Measures and initiatives

Within the EU there are regulations through the common fisheries policy on the mesh size of the fishing nets, which should allow the young fish to escape, and on closed seasons.

In order to prevent further ecological catastrophes, which in the long term would mean the economic decline of the fishing industry in many regions, catch quotas , i.e. H. a fixed amount of fish in a certain area. However, these are often set too high for political and economic reasons. Often these are insufficiently controlled, so that more is caught than is officially announced.

The MSC seal ( Marine Stewardship Council ) is an environmental label that has existed since 1997 , which is intended to enable consumers to buy fish from sustainable fisheries. Another worldwide program for fish (sea fish and aquaculture) from sustainable fisheries has existed under the label Friend of the Sea (FOS) since 2006 . In 1990, the US Earth Island Institute (EII) established a worldwide control program for the canned tuna industry for dolphin-safe caught tuna with the trademarked product label SAFE .

Of animal rights is often criticized that the fish while fishing with the net suffocate painfully, change that neither the MSC label, nor FOS or SAFE something as this point is not considered for the award. The selective fishing , the restriction to a certain fish species, is relatively easy. To do this, the fisherman has to know exactly the differences in behavior of the individual fish species and needs special, so-called clever nets.

Industrial fishing off the coast of Africa

The partly legal and partly illegal fishing with trawlers off the coasts of Africa poses a major challenge. On the one hand, it leads to the overexploitation of stocks and, on the other hand, endangers the local fishing industry and the traditional diet of the neighbors.

The marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd has set itself the goal of working together with law enforcement officials from African countries to combat illegal fishing off their coasts. As a result of this cooperation, 83 illegally fishing ships and 27 dhows have already been arrested, as well as fines in the millions.

As poaching activities in the controlled areas decreased, the United Nations cited Sea Shepherd's efforts as a positive example of regular patrols having a deterrent effect.

See also

Crew accommodation on a fishing cutter around 1950


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  • Peter C. Mayer-Tasch: Sea without fish? Profit and world food . Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38350-7 .
  • Hans-Peter Rodenberg and Gudrun Pawelke: See in Not. The greatest source of food on the planet: an inventory . Marebuchverlag, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-936384-49-5 .
  • Ernst Günther Schmidt : fishing industry. In: Little Pauly . 1979, Volume 2, Col. 555 f.
  • Lars Schmitz-Eggen: The fate of the Hoheweg. November 8, 2006: Catastrophe in the north . Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2009, ISBN 978-3-8391-1996-9 .
Reference book of historical and historical interest
Published with the participation of well-known fishing experts: Illustrated Fishery Lexicon . J. Neumann Verlag, Neudamm 1936, DNB-Info

Web links

Wiktionary: Fishing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: fishing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Fisheries  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files




Individual evidence

  1. Art. 3 lit. b of Regulation (EU) 2020/123
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  6. Rudolph Zaunick: The oldest German fish booklet from 1498 and its significance for later literature. (= Archive for fishing history. Addition) Berlin 1916.
  7. See also Frieder Schanze: Fischbüchlein from Lake Constance. In: Burghart Wachinger et al. (Hrsg.): The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author Lexicon . Volume 2: Comitis, Gerhard - Gerstenberg, Wigand. 2nd, completely revised edition. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1980, ISBN 3-11-007264-5 , Col. 741.
  8. ^ Heinrich Grimm: New contributions to the "fish literature" of the XV. to XVII. Century and through their printer and bookkeeper. In: Börsenblatt for the German book trade - Frankfurt edition. No. 89, November 5, 1968 (= Archive for the History of the Book System. Volume 62), pp. 2871–2887.
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