The rise of the coronavirus pandemic has tremendously impacted commercial fishing. France’s quarantine guidelines, including the closure of bars and restaurants, implemented to prevent further spread of the infection have forced fishing ships to stop business and stay in port. In the country of Croatia, hundreds of fishing boats remained docked, and 80% of the white fish left unsold. Fishermen in Greece have been unable to sell their fish to the market because the borders have been closed. These are all true data gathered via satellite and other forms of observations. China and West Africa are not spared as well, with over 80% loss in their fishing business since the pandemic.
The worldwide drop in the fishing industry is not good news at all for anyone who earns from the sea, and fishermen all over the world are undeniably suffer. On the other hand, for those fish populations that are struggling – and the experts striving to help them recover – this unforeseen fishing slowdown has presented an opportunity. Somehow, this could eventually lead to a more sustainable means to navigate the oceans when the pandemic subsides.
Slowdowns In The Past
A few decades ago, several trends caused the slowdown of the world’s fish industry. Science published a study last 2019 showing decreasing fish stocks by more than 30% due to climate change. Additionally, there were cases of overfishing, which resulted in a reduced supply of sought-after types of fish, like Mediterranean swordfish and Bluefin tuna, by approximately 90%. As per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization statistics, fishing boats go out to the sea and dock with only very few fish while consumption goes up yearly.
In the past, a lot of experts called for suspensions on specific types of fish, so their numbers will recover. This was a plea of one of the professors at the University of British Columbia, Mr. Daniel Pauly, who was an advocate for global moratoriums on high seas fishing. He said that suspending the catching of fish that were in deficient numbers would result in more affordable fishing, which makes sense.
The spread of the coronavirus infection has obligated such a pause upon the whole world. So what happens after? How will this pause affect the fish populations? A stoppage that lasts for a few months won’t have very much impact on the long-term. However, if the need for fish plunged due to a greater recession, then definitely operations could be slow to start and slow to recover. A stoppage of almost a year would probably enable those fish that are declining due to high demand to grow in number; thus, supply and demand will be equal.
Where It’s Going
In the months that commercial fishing has declined because of the pandemic, changes have been seen in fish behavior. Scientists have claimed that due to the decline in fishing boats, the smaller types of fish are visible on the ocean surface, while predators have become more active. The tuna fish, which formerly travels through the China Sea and into the Japanese fishing areas, are now seen to make a stop in the China Sea to feed.
Most of the large commercial fishing boats have docked for a month, according to people who monitor fishing activities through satellite. Chinese fishing activity typically slows down during the Chinese New Year, in January or February. This year, that decline has coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, after February, no activity has been seen yet. Reportedly, Chinese commercial fishermen are down by a million hours in fishing activity, although lately, little activity has been visible.
When this global pandemic soon subsides and disappears, there might be dangers of overfishing when fishers crowd the seas eager to go back to their livelihoods. Large fleets will take advantage of their size and dominate the seas, catching more fish and freezing them while they stay out at sea. Patrols and other organizations must be keen on stopping this. Big and small-time fishers must be equally gifted with the blessing of being able to fish again soon.
Attending the 2018 fishing event with my family is one of the best experiences I had. Since I love outdoors, I find it amusing to go on fishing as well. That is why I get excited knowing that there are so many benefits that I can get from fishing activity. But for me, the specific things I love about it are the following:
Conservation – Aside from fishing’s social bonding capabilities, it also helps in preservation. That is because many anglers value the significance of preserving the environment and the marine’s valuable habitat. That is why most fishers contribute to the wildlife programs that protect natural resources.
Stress Relief – Spending time outdoors and bobber fishing on a pond relieve stress. That is one of the mental health benefits of the activity. It allows mindfulness that connects you with nature. It reminds you that there are many beautiful things around you that you should be thankful for. It makes you appreciate every little living thing and how it contributes to life.
Recreation – Others think that fishing is a tedious activity. But contrary, fishing is fun. Not only it boosts your excitement level, but it also gives you a sense of fulfillment in doing something out of the ordinary. Aside from that, it is also a fun way of mental exercise where you practice focus and patience.
Enhanced Lifestyle – Fishing encourages a healthier way of life. Instead of eating unhealthy food, fishing allows you to be health-conscious. It helps you to become more aware of what you put in your body. It will make you prefer fresh meat instead of purchasing the ones in stores.
Well, some people may not see the benefits as others do. But for those who love the activity, they find it one of the best things to do.
We can catch fish in several ways. We can use our hands, or we can shoot a spear through it. We can also trap it in a net, use a hook and bait, or throw dynamite to the sea or lake, although this is not recommended. Fishing has been a livelihood and a way of life for thousands of years, which is why people had so much time inventing different ways to catch fish.
Just like dancing, there has been a lot of debate about whether fishing is a hobby or a sport. Some people strongly disagree that fishing can even be considered a sport, simply because they say that anybody can do it.
Fishing is hardly known as a young person’s hobby. For one, it does not require a lot of movement. You need to swing the rod back and throw it forward, and that can take some force, yes. But once the line is already in the water, you can even prop the fishing rod on a chair and leave it there. If you are in the saltwater, there may be a chance for you to exert energy as you can get big fish there. However, in case you are fishing in the lake or river, you may not even grunt when you pull the fish out with your rod.
Despite that, fishing still comes with a few dangers that not everyone may realize until an accident happens. To avoid that, here are safety tips that you can’t forget.
Be Mindful Of The Hook
The hook is attached at the end of the line along with the bait. The typical idea is that you should connect the latter to the former. When the fish eats the bait, therefore, it will get caught on the hook.
When you are attaching the hook or removing the fish from it, though, you should be mindful of its pointy part. I have seen several newbies nick, slash, and even stab themselves with a hook accidentally. While it is small, it is incredibly sharp – enough to pierce through a fish’s mouth and your skin.
Learn How To Swing The Rod Properly
As mentioned above, fishing involves swinging the rod backward and forward. This will ensure that the line can reach a specific distance. After all, you cannot simply drop it beside the boat. It has to be far away so that the bait will be more believable for the fish.
However, you need to learn the proper way of swinging the fishing rod. It is not like a rope in the rodeo or a ribbon that gymnasts twirl. Remember that a hook is at the end of the line. If it hits you or anyone on the boat, it will be disastrous.
Use Nets Neatly
Considering you have graduated from freshwater to saltwater fishing, there may be a time when you will use nets. That is especially true if you want to catch more than a bucket of fish. Your beloved rod will be useless at that point because it will slow down the process.
The thing is, a lot of unfortunate things can happen if your nets are all over the place. For instance, you may trip on it. How lucky you will be if you fall safely on the net. However, what if your face hits the side of the boat or you tip over?
A lot of people go fishing to calm their minds or get away from the city. It seems ideal and all, but you should ensure your safety first. Understand how every part of the fishing rod works, be careful if you want to use nets, and never go by yourself. This way, there is someone to watch out for you and vice versa.
Fishing is one of my family’s favorite pastimes. For as long as I can remember, my parents would set aside an entire week during my summer break from school for that. We would rent a cabin by the river or lake and pack our bags and canoes. Sometimes, we would sleep in tents or even camping cars.
During that week, chicken, pork, or beef was at the back of our minds. My mom knew a lot of recipes that involved fish as the main ingredient. Everything from stew to soup to grilled – we enjoyed them all, especially since the fish was always fresh. It was something that we could not enough of, frankly speaking.
My family still does this tradition every year, even when I am already in my mid-20s. I don’t usually take a leave of absence because I allocate those days to that fishing week. What is even better is that my cousins, aunts, and uncles come with us, so it is like a week-long reunion.
The thing is, I know that fishing is not for everyone. To be precise, it is not suitable for the faint of heart because:
You Will Be Dealing With A Wiggly Fish
The first thing that irks some people is the truth that the fish will fight back when you try to take it out of the water. Its body will wiggle from the moment you pull the line, making the task challenging. Even when it is on the boat already, it may not be easy to hold because the fish scales are too smooth. Thus, newbies tend to yell or jump in surprise when the fish slips out of their hands.
You Have To Remove The Hook From The Fish’s Mouth
It is an exciting sight when a fisherman raises his rod, and a hefty fish is at the end of it. What non-fishing folks may not realize, however, is that the hook pierces the mouth of the fish. The latter does not bleed a lot in that area, but it can be too much for a few individuals.
You Need To Open The Fish And Pull Out Its Guts
A movie or TV show where people are fishing and camping can be a bit misleading, in the sense that they only show the fish on the grill after catching it. What you have hardly seen in media is the process of removing the guts. After all, it requires slicing the fish’s belly and pulling out everything inside except for the bones. This procedure is necessary, though, to make sure that you will eat clean fish. The guts tend to go back to the water and serve as fish food.
If you find the de-gutting process gory or barbaric, though, fishing may not be for you.
The Fish Smell Won’t Go Away With Water And Regular Soap
You do not hear fishing enthusiasts complain about the smell that lingers on their hands, but it is not a myth. Fish odor can genuinely stick to your skin, especially while cleaning the fish because it releases chemicals that give off the universally known fishy smell. What’s worse is that the scent does not go away with water and regular soap alone, so forgetting the special detergent during your trip entails that the stink will remain with you until you go home.
I decided to write this blog not to discourage you from learning how to fish but to keep you from quitting when you see or experience the things mentioned above. When you know what to expect beforehand, and you still go for it, it means that the hobby will stick for long.
Visiting Phuket, Thailand won’t be complete without having a taste of their seafood extravaganza. The island is not only known for its beautiful beaches but also for the rich marine life that has tourists and locals appreciate seafood more and eating the likes of giant prawns, crabs, and sweet shrimps should never be missed while you’re in this colorful island. (more…)
When I pick up a new hobby, I love sharing it with my family and friends. It has never bothered me even if they end up being better at it than me. It merely indicates that there is someone who can help me learn the ropes.
The thing is, I have tried new hobbies that my loved ones have started doing, too. When I brought my brother to a boxing class, and he loved it there. One time, I wanted to learn how to bake and asked mom to tag along with them. She turned to be a natural baker and loved the activity as well.
If there’s something that not a lot of my friends and family cannot accept, though, it’s my love for fishing. I did not grow up around bodies of water; the closest beach was a plane ride away. But somehow, when I was given a chance to start fishing, you could say that I got hooked.
Noodling, angling, netting – I have tried different techniques to catch a fish. I am not against fishing at any time of the year either, considering you can do it even the water is frozen solid.
Now, it has taken a while before I have encouraged my parents and siblings to go fishing with me. I tried many things to get them to hold a rod. At a low point, I even bribed them, but that did not end well for me. My family took my bribe but managed to come up with excuses not to come with me at the last minute.
Nevertheless, it did not stop me from coaxing my loved ones to try fishing. It was not until last year that I got my family to do it, and now they keep on asking me when we can go again.
If you want to accomplish the same thing, here’s how you can entice someone to go fishing with you.
Rent A Cabin Near A Fishing Lake
The first thing you can try is renting a cabin by the lake. There probably isn’t a single soul in the world who has never dreamed of waking up in one. You can open the door and bask in the beauty of nature.
Despite that, when you are deciding where to bring your family, you should make sure that the lake has fish. This way, you can suggest fishing to them one morning.
Give Your Family Something To Do While Waiting For The Fish
One of the reasons why your loved ones may not be up for fishing is that they have zero patience for waiting. When you do this activity, after all, you may have to wait for hours before a fish takes your bait. Some species are smarter than you expect as well, in the sense that they can eat your bait without touching the hook.
To keep your family from getting bored, therefore, you should think of games that you can play while waiting.
Prepare A BBQ Party Afterward
Another thing you can do is announce that you will prepare a BBQ party after fishing. There will be all kinds of meat, including the fish that any of you may catch. In this manner, you may encourage them to take fishing seriously because there is a yummy reward in the end.
Don’t give up on your family if they don’t like fishing as much as you do. Try coaxing them with the tips mentioned above. Good luck!
Skip Bennett has founded and still owns Island Creek Oysters (ICO). With the help of oyster farmer Christian Horne, his local fish market owner and friend Don Murray, and his father Bill Bennett, the Island Creek Oysters has been staying true to its mission since its establishment: Grow. Give. Enjoy.
It was the year 1992 when Skip Bennett had been initiated into oyster-growing in Island Creek, Duxbury, where he spent most of his life. Before that, the quahog razor clams that Bennett was working on became infected. However, instead of letting it pull him down, the ICO founder decided to focus all his attention on oysters. Since making that decision, the following occurrences happened:
• They were later joined in the year 2000 by Don Murray and Bill Bennett, Skip Bennett’s friend and father, respectively.
• The four of them sold oysters from the back of a truck to some restaurant chefs.
Because of Skip Bennett’s and his associates’ passion for oysters, ICO is now producing more than 100,000 oysters per week, and their customers now come from all coasts.
Oyster Farming Process
The growing, planting, and harvesting process for oysters take 18 months. The work is tedious, but allow us to break down the steps below:
• Seeds of 2 millimeters arrive every May from New England hatcheries in blue cloth packets that can hold 2 pounds of baby oysters.
• The seeds go to the bottom of the handmade upwellings that comprise of eight boxes, a beautiful mesh screen as a bed, and a white pipe that keeps the baby oysters fresh all the time.
• When the last quarter of July comes, and the baby oysters are already ¼-inch long, they are graded or sifted to separate the still-small oysters from the larger ones.
• The ¼-inch oysters are brought to the nursery where they will remain to double in size for 2 to 3 months.
• After that, the oysters are planted in the acreage of underwater ground, where they all continue to grow until after winter.
• Eighteen months after the growing process, the harvesting of oysters through handpicking and dragging takes place when there is low tide and high tide, respectively.
• The harvested oysters are then culled in oyster barges to know which ones are ICO-material or not.
• The oysters that have passed through the oyster barges successfully get washed. The goal is to get rid of all the muds that stuck on them. Workers manually count the shellfish into mesh bags, pack them into ICO trucks, and deliver the bags to your favorite restaurants.
Island Creek Oysters allows visitors who want to experience being an oyster farmer firsthand. It has also ventured to the catering business, and it is suitable for all kinds of events that have guests who want to have raw bar experience. Anyone can shop for shellfish, gears, and packages online through the ICO website.