Fishing is the exploitation/harvesting of fish and other aquatic/water resources e.g. whales, seals, crabs, lobsters, prawns, oysters, etc. for economic purposes.
Fisheries are water bodies or areas where fish and other aquatic resources are reared or caught in large numbers. They include rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, dams, ponds, etc. they are also referred to as fishing grounds.
Factors influencing fishing
These include the factors that affect the survival of fish in the fisheries as well as those allowing fishing to take place.
They include: –
- i. Presence of fishing grounds:- these depend on the supply of fish food/planktons in the water bodies. This requires the oceans and other fishing grounds to be: –
Shallow to allow sunlight to penetrate for phytoplankton.
Land derived minerals nutrients from along the coasts with several river
Upwelling/well oxygenated waters where warm and cold currents
Cool waters of temperate latitudes
- Cool climate:- cool temperatures (about 200C) are ideal for plankton growth and survival.Hence most commercially important fish species are found in temperate latitudes. Cool temperatures also reduce perishability of fish.
- Occurrence of ocean currents: – areas washed by warm ocean currents have fewer fish species and population compared to those washed by cold ocean currents. Also large shoals of fish are found in areas of convergence of warm and cold ocean currents – waters mix and spread out/distributes water temperature; bringing to surface some fish nutrients, helps in supplying more oxygen in the water necessary for plankton growth.
- Nature/configuration/orientation of the coastline:- indented/irregular coastlines encourage deep sea fishing because they allow breeding of fish – they are sheltered from strong winds and ocean currents, anchorage of ships and development of ports. Deep coastline with wide continental shelves encourage growth of plankton hence have large population of fish.
- Capital:- a large capital base is needed to conduct large scale commercial fishing i.e. for purchasing fishing gear, vessels and refrigeration facilities.
- Technology: -modern fishing gears enable fishermen to conduct fishing deep in seas/lakes/oceans.
- Market: – areas with large populations offer good market for the fish especially if the population is a fish eating one.
- Labour: – fishing is highly labour intensive hence fishing thrives in areas of high population e.g. Asia, Europe, North America, etc.
- Transport and refrigeration facilities:- large scale commercial fishing requires that the fishing grounds be served with efficient network of roads to enable delivery of caught fish to the market when still fresh (fish is highly perishable). In areas that are far away from the market, refrigeration facilities are required during transit.