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A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men and women. Fishing has existed as a means of obtaining food since the Mesolithic period.
Fishing has existed as a means of obtaining food since the Mesolithic period. By the time of the Ancient Egyptians, fishermen provided the majority of food for Egyptians. Fishing had become a major means of survival as well as a business venture.http://www.icsf.net/icsf2006/uploads/publications/samudra/pdf/english/issue_28/art01.pdf Fisheries history Fishing and the fisherman had also influenced Ancient Egyptian religion; mullets were worshiped as a sign of the arriving flood season. Bastet was often manifested in the form of a catfish. In ancient Egyptian literature, the method that Amun used to create the world is associated with the tilapia's method of mouth-brooding.
According to the FAO, there were 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers in 2002, more than triple the number in 1970. Of this total, 74% worked in capture fisheries and 26% in aquaculture. The total fishery production of 133 million tonnes equated to an average productivity of 3.5 tonnes per person.
Most fishermen are men involved in offshore and deep-sea fisheries. Women fish in some regions inshore from small boats or collect shellfish and seaweed. In many artisanal fishing communities, women are responsible for making and repairing nets, post-harvest processing and marketing.
The most common form of recreational fishing is done with a rod, reel, line, hooks and any one of a wide range of baits. Lures are frequently used in place of bait. Some hobbyists make handmade lures themselves, including plastic lures and artificial flies.
The practice of catching or attempting to catch fish with a hook is called angling. When angling, it is sometimes expected or required that the fish be caught and released. Big-game fishing is fishing from boats to catch large open-water species such as tuna, sharks and marlin. Noodling and trout tickling are also recreational activities.
Many fishermen, while accepting that fishing is dangerous, staunchly defend their independence. Many proposed laws and additional regulation to increase safety have been defeated because fishermen oppose them.
Alaska's commercial fishermen work in one of the world's harshest environments. They endure isolated fishing grounds, high winds, seasonal darkness, very cold water, icing, and short fishing seasons, where very long work days are the norm. Fatigue, physical stress, and financial pressures face most Alaska fishermen through their careers. The hazardous work conditions faced by fishermen have a strong impact on their safety. Out of 948 work-related deaths that took place in Alaska during 1990-2006, one-third (311) occurred to fishermen. This is equivalent to an estimated annual fatality rate of 128/100,000 workers/year. This fatality rate is 26 times that of the overall U.S. work-related fatality rate of approximately 5/100,000 workers/year for the same time period.
While the work-related fatality rate for commercial fishermen in Alaska is still very high, it does appear to be decreasing: since 1990, there has been a 51 percent decline in the annual fatality rate. The successes in commercial fishing are due in part to the U.S. Coast Guard implementing new safety requirements in the early 1990s. These safety requirements contributed to 96 percent of the commercial fishermen surviving vessel sinkings/capsizings in 2004, whereas in 1991, only 73 percent survived. While the number of occupational deaths in commercial fishermen in Alaska has been reduced, there is a continuing pattern of losing 20 to 40 vessels every year. There are still about 100 fishermen who must be rescued each year from cold Alaska waters. Successful rescue is still dependent on the expertly trained personnel of the US Coast Guard Search and Rescue operations, and such efforts can be hindered by the harshness of seas and the weather. Furthermore, the people involved in Search and Rescue operations are themselves at considerable risk for injury or death during these rescue attempts.
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