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Go Fish!

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand

Whether on the shelves in the store, your dinner plate, or the simchah buffet, ever wondered how that delicious fillet of salmon made it there?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

mishpacha image

 

A

ll about Fishing



We live on a wet planet, where three quarters of earth’s surface is water. So it’s not surprising that fishing has always been important to man.

No one knows for sure who the first fishermen were, but we know from archaeological records that man has been fishing for a long time. Native Americans on the California coast were known to fish with hooks and lines thousands of years ago. Ancient Egyptian fishermen used woven nets spread out from simple reed boats, and the Romans and Greeks fished with rods and lines, too. But there are other ways to catch a fish! Spearing the fish with a barbed pole called a harpoon was common in ancient times and still done in some remote regions. Some tribes even use natural plant poisons to kill the fish. And in Sri Lanka, the fishermen walk into the sea on stilts to catch the fish.

Fishing the Oceans

Modern fishing gear hasn’t changed much since ancient times. Nets, traps, harpoons, rods, and lines are still used across the world. But the scale of the operation has changed enormously. Today, huge commercial fishing boats roam the oceans for up to six months at a time, catching thousands of tons of fish. Nets and lines are bigger, too. 

“Longlines” are just that — long lines with thousands of baited hooks on them, spread out in the ocean for as much as an incredible 50 miles. And the nets got deeper, as well. Gillnets are nets that hang vertically in the water, held down with weights, which can reach right down to the sea bed in some places. The huge nets of today are so big that it would take far too long to haul them into the boat by hand, so most big commercial fishing boats have mechanical winches to pull the nets in.

 

Catching huge numbers of fish has become so easy that it’s become a problem. We’ve been “overfishing” the oceans. When people overfish, so many of one type of fish is caught that the fish don’t have time to replace their numbers by breeding. 

That means there is gradually fewer and fewer of that fish. To help prevent this, many countries have rules limiting how much fish people can catch.

Not Just Fishing

You might think a fisherman’s job is just sitting there with a rod or net waiting for the fish to “bite,” as they call it. But a commercial fisherman’s job is much, much more than that.

First of all, they need to find where the fish are in those huge oceans. That’s done by using all kinds of fish-finding equipment, including compasses, charts, and electronic navigational equipment something like a GPS. 

As soon as they know where the fish are, the fishermen need to be sailors, too — guiding, steering, and keeping the fishing boat in working order en route to the fishing ground. Once they reach the right place, the fishermen lay out their fishing equipment — whether they use nets, traps or lines — in the best way to catch the fish. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 677)

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