Fisheries, industry of harvesting fish, shellfish, and other aquatic
animals. Fisheries may be large commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries,
or small subsistence fisheries (fishing to provide the basic needs of the
fishing community). The term fishery is also used to describe the waters
where fishing takes place or the species of fish being harvested, such as the
Alaska halibut fishery. Fisheries include familiar finned fish species, like
cod and flounder; mollusks, including oysters and squid; and crustaceans,
such as shrimp and crabs. Lesser-known fisheries include echinoderms, like
sea urchins; some amphibians, including frogs; and cnidarians, such as
jellyfish. Even the harvest of whales is usually considered a fishery.
fish culture has been a tradition in Southeast Asia for over 2000
years. Fan-Li wrote the first extensive treatise on fish culture in
China about 800 BCE. The document resides in the British
Museum. By 1368 CE, the Ming Dynasty began the promotion of
fish farms to support the Live Fish markets, that even today,
dominate Chinese fish sales. In 1864 G.O. Sars developed artificial
propagation of marine fish fry in Norway. Sars fertilized, hatched
and released 67 million cod yolk-sac fry, starting modern fish
hatcheries for restocking declining fish resources- as well as
modern fisheries science. In 1864 the first salmon canneries were
built on the Columbia river, to provide d for gold miners and
railroad laborers in the west. In 1871 the US Fish Commission was
created. The next era in North America\u2019s history of fish hatcheries
began in 1872 when the American Fish Culturists Association
Appropriated $17,000 for the Government to Begin fish culture
development. Also in 1872 Livingston Stone made the first salmon
egg collection for artificial fertilization, at Baird Station on the
McCloud River. In 1874 Stone also shipped American shad to
Europe, for introduction. Meanwhile, the Baird Hatchery began
shipping fertilized salmon eggs worldwide. Ironically, it is now
under water due to building of Shasta dam. In 1877 the first
salmon cannery was built in Klawok, Alaska. In 1879 Oyster
propagation was begun for Maryland Fish Commission 1882. Fish
hatcheries and invertebrate culture facilities sprung up along the
northeast of North America, becoming the sites of various early
marine science institutions. Along the west coast, from California
to Alaska, salmon and trout hatcheries proliferated, and formed an
entirely unique put-and-take fish economic activity. Most of the
regions\u2019 once pristine lakes were soon stocked with alien species,
never to be the same, again.
Fisheries are an important source of food, income, jobs, and recreation for people around the world. This is particularly true in island nations, such as Japan and Iceland, where seafood is eaten as a major source of protein. The average person in Iceland eats nearly 90 kg (200 lb) of fish per year, more than six times the worldwide average.
Worldwide harvest of fishery products has steadily increased to meet the
growing global demand for seafood. In 2001 an estimated 130 million metric
tons of fishery products were harvested. China was responsible for the
largest harvest, followed by Peru, Japan, India, Chile, the United States,
Indonesia, and Russia.
The increasing demand for seafood has led to a complex, global system
of trade in fisheries products. Japan is the largest importer, followed by the
United States, France, Spain, and Germany. Thailand is the largest exporter,
followed by the United States, Norway, China, and Denmark. The United
States imports large quantities of high-valued fishery products, such as
shrimp and lobster, and exports products not as popular among American
consumers, such as salmon roe (eggs) and sea urchin roe, which are exported
Today scientists consider many fisheries to be fished beyond the capacity of the resource. Current harvest rates are thought to be unsustainable that is, unable to be maintained year after year without depletion of the fish stock.
Experts believe that increases in world fish supply will require better
management of the resources as well as the increased use of fish farming or
The range of fisheries is immense over 4,000 aquatic species are
harvested worldwide. The shrimp fishery alone includes well over 40
species. Fisheries are located almost anywhere there is water from the brine
shrimp fishery in the Great Salt Lake of Utah in the United States, to the
North Pacific Ocean where salmon, Pollock, king crab, halibut, and many
other species are caught. Over 80 percent of the world\u2019s fisheries are located
in the coastal and ocean environment, and nearly 20 percent are found in
inland fresh water fisheries. Currently, over half of the world\u2019s fishery
harvests come from the Pacific Ocean; 25 percent are from the North Pacific
The largest fisheries group is made up of small, pelagic (open ocean)
fishes such as herring, sardine, anchovy, and related species. Over 20 percent
of the world\u2019s fishery harvest comes from this group, and Chile and Peru are
the leading harvesters. These fish have relatively low commercial value and
are often used to make feed for poultry, hogs, and other animals.
Another large category of harvested fishes, accounting for nearly 10
percent of the world\u2019s fishery harvest, is the groundfish, or demersal fish,
that live near the ocean floor. These generally white-fleshed fishes include
cod, haddock, pollock, and hake. Cod and haddock tend to be relatively high
in commercial value. The Alaskan pollock is less valuable and is often used
in the fish sandwiches sold at fast-food restaurants. Also in the groundfish
group are flatfish, such as flounder, halibut, and sole, which live directly on
the ocean bottom. This well-known group of fish usually has a high
commercial value but accounts for less than 1 percent of world harvest.
Fish such as tuna, swordfish, marlin, and mahi-mahi make up the large
pelagic fish category and account for nearly 5 percent of world harvest. Tuna
is consumed fresh in great quantities in Japan and sold canned around the
world. Canned tuna is the fish eaten most often in the United States.
Salmon belong to the anadromous group, meaning they lay their eggs in
fresh water but usually spend their adult lives in the ocean. Although the
salmon fishery only accounts for about 2 percent of world fishery harvests, it
is one of the most important wild fisheries in Canada, Japan, Russia, and the
United States (especially to the fishery industry in the state of Alaska).
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