History of fishing
Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back to at least the beginning of the Paleolithic period about 40,000 years ago. Isotopic analysis of the skeletal remains of Tianyuan man, a 40,000 year old modern human from eastern Asia, has shown that he regularly consumed freshwater fish. Archaeology features such as shell middens, discarded fish bones and cave paintings show that sea foods were important for survival and consumed in significant quantities. During this period, most people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and were, of necessity, constantly on the move. However, where there are early examples of permanent settlements (though not necessarily permanently occupied) such as those at Lepenski Vir, they are almost always associated with fishing as a major source of food. The ancient river Nile was full of fish; fresh and dried fish were a staple food for much of the population. The Egyptians had implements and methods for fishing and these are illustrated in tomb scenes, drawings, and papyrus documents. Some representations hint at fishing being pursued as a pastime. In India, the Pandyas, a classical Dravidian Tamil kingdom, were known for the pearl fishery as early as the 1st century BC. Their seaport Tuticorin was known for deep sea pearl fishing. The Paravas, a Tamil caste centred in Tuticorin, developed a rich community because of their pearl trade, navigation knowledge and fisheries. Seafood played a central role in the food culture of ancient Greeks, though fishing scenes are rarely represented in their art, a reflection of the low social status of fishing. Oppian of Corycus, a Greek author wrote a major treatise on sea fishing; the Halieulica or Halieutika, composed between 177 and 180. This is the earliest such work to have survived to the modern day. Pictorial evidence of Roman fishing comes from mosaics. The Roman god of the sea Neptune is depicted as wielding a fishing trident. The Moche people of ancient Peru depicted fishermen in their ceramics. One of the worldТs longest trading histories is the trade of dry cod from the Lofoten area of Norway to the southern parts of Europe, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The trade in cod started during the Viking period or before, has been going on for more than 1,000 years and is still important. The ancient river Nile was full of fish; fresh and dried fish were a staple food for much of the population. The Egyptians invented various implements and methods for fishing and these are clearly illustrated in tomb scenes, drawings, and papyrus documents. Simple reed boats served for fishing. Woven nets, weir baskets made from willow branches, harpoons and hook and line (the hooks having a length of between eight millimetres and eighteen centimetres) were all being used. By the 12th dynasty, metal hooks with barbs were being used. As is fairly common today, the fish were clubbed to death after capture. Nile perch, catfish and eels were among the most important fish. Some representations hint at fishing being pursued as a pastime. External images Image of an ancient angler on a wine cup There are numerous references to fishing in ancient literature; in most cases, however, the descriptions of nets and fishing-gear do not go into detail, and the equipment is described in general terms. An early example from the Bible in Job 1:7: Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?. Fishing with nets, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (14th century) Fishing scenes are rarely represented in ancient Greek culture, a reflection of the low social status of fishing. There is a wine cup, dating from c. 500 BC, that shows a boy crouched on a rock with a fishing-rod in his right hand and a basket in his left. In the water below there is a rounded object of the same material with an opening on the top. This has been identified as a fish-cage used for keeping live fish, or as a fish-trap. It is clearly not a net. This object is currently in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Oppian of Corycus, a Greek author wrote a major treatise on sea fishing, the Halieulica or Halieutika, composed between 177 and 180. This is the earliest such work to have survived intact to the modern day. Oppian describes various means of fishing including the use of nets cast from boats, scoop nets held open by a hoop, spears and tridents, and various traps "which work while their masters sleep". Oppian's description of fishing with a "motionless" net is also very interesting: The fishers set up very light nets of buoyant flax and wheel in a circle round about while they violently strike the surface of the sea with their oars and make a din with sweeping blow of poles. At the flashing of the swift oars and the noise the fish bound in terror and rush into the bosom of the net which stands at rest, thinking it to be a shelter: foolish fishes which, frightened by a noise, enter the gates of doom. Then the fishers on either side hasten with the ropes to draw the net ashore. The Greek historian Polybius (ca 203 BCЦ120 BC), in his Histories, describes hunting for swordfish by using a harpoon with a barbed and detachable head. Pictorial evidence of Roman fishing comes from mosaics which show fishing from boats with rod and line as well as nets. Various species such as conger, lobster, sea urchin, octopus and cuttlefish are illustrated. In a parody of fishing, a type of gladiator called retiarius was armed with a trident and a casting-net. He would fight against the murmillo, who carried a short sword and a helmet with the image of a fish on the front. The Greco-Roman sea god Neptune is depicted as wielding a fishing trident. Dutch fishermen using tridents in the 17th century In India, the Pandyas, a classical Dravidian Tamil kingdom, were known for the pearl fishery as early as the 1st century BC. Their seaport Tuticorin was known for deep sea pearl fishing. The paravas, a Tamil caste centred in Tuticorin, developed a rich community because of their pearl trade, navigation knowledge and fisheries. Pearl Fishery at Tuticorin camp of paravar, 1662, by Johan Nieuhof. In Norse mythology the sea giantess Ran uses a fishing net to trap lost sailors. The Moche people of ancient Peru depicted fisherman in their ceramics. From ancient representations and literature it is clear that fishing boats were typically small, lacking a mast or sail, and were only used close to the shore. In traditional Chinese history, history begins with three semi-mystical and legendary individuals who taught the Chinese the arts of civilization around 2800Ц2600 BC: of these Fu Hsi was reputed to be the inventor of writing, hunting, trapping, and fishing.