Fish in every type of human culture is an ever-living symbol mainly because of their economic importance. In many countries, fish and the act of fishing are ever-present in folklores and mythologies. As mankind developed the ability to explore the deepest parts of the sea and discovered the many different species, they also recognized the value of fish as an inspiring source of beauty.
”The Old Man and the Sea” – A Classic Literature about Fish Culture
In the Ernest Hemmingway novel “The Old Man and the Sea” for which the American author won both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for Literature, the narrative revolves around an aging Cuban fisherman’s passion for fishing and for the respect he had developed for the denizens of the sea. In the story, Santiago the main character had gone out to sea for 84 days without a catch to show every time he returned.
Determined to fight the bad luck that has beset him for months, he set sail on the 85th day determined to catch a giant marlin. Although he was able to do so with a great deal of struggle, Santiago still returned to the fishing village empty-handed. The carcass of the giant marlin that he strapped to the side of his skiff was devoured by sharks when he sailed back home.
Nonetheless, the skeleton of the 18-feet long marlin strapped to Santiago’s boat was enough to gain back the respect of the other fishermen. Although he somehow felt defeated, Santiago did not lose sleep over the experience, as the story ended with Santiago promising his young apprentice that they will fish together.
The plot is simple but it generally depicts how people in communities and even nations as a whole depend on fish and other marine creatures as sources of food, raw materials, ornaments, and recreational pleasure. So much so that overfishing and bycatch had resulted in the depletion, underpopulation, and even extinction of a number of fish species
Underscoring the Importance of Sustainable Fishing
Spanning thousands of years, mankind has imposed a great demand for fish and other creatures living in aquatic environments. Studies conducted by marine researchers revealed that such demand led to the development of technologies that allowed fishing practices to take away as much as 77 billion kilograms of marine life each year.
The findings, therefore, raised concerns that at the rate by which humans consume fish and other aquatic creatures, the collapse of natural fisheries would be imminent.
Economists, environmentalists, and conservationists agree that governments should take a more serious approach in managing fisheries by ensuring that only sustainable fishing practices be employed.
Sustainable Fishing encompasses not only the use of spears but also practices that ensure populations of fish and other aquatic life will continue to thrive in ocean and freshwater habitats.
One example of a sustainable fishing method is by making sure that specific species of fish are harvested during certain times of the year, to allow population growth. Catch and release is another sustainable fishing method but this also comes hand in hand with efforts to rid the aquatic environments of invasive species.
At present, many of us find fishing among the best recreation to reconnect with nature. And as the wilderness society encourage the younger generation to experience the traditional way of fishing, they also educate the youth about the value of sustainable fishing.