The “Simple” Definition
The activities involved in catching wild fish or shellfish, or a group of species that share the same habitat can all be defined as a “fishery.” More complex, others will say that fisheries are
complex wild food production systems that can be in freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments. Further, a “fish farm” (or hatchery) is not a “fishery”, but may be an important component of a fishery.
A more exact definition of a fishery can include:
- Fishing Method
- Target Species
- Management Jurisdictions
In the context of fishery management jurisdiction and fishing regulations, location is very important and it needs to be defined.
Defining by Location (Examples)
- Atlantic Ocean
- North Atlantic
- Pacific Ocean
- North Pacific
- Central North Pacific
- Main Hawaiian Islands
In the most basic of terms, a fisheries purpose is either for subsistence (food), recreation (sport) or livelihood (commerce).
Subsistence: for food, sharing or barter, but not for money.
Recreational: for pleasure, sport, competition, food and/or catch and release.
Commercial: catching and marketing fish for money
Artisanal: small-scale and traditional fishing for money and/or subsistence
Industrial: catching for money for uses other than human food
Aquarium: catching ornamental fish for money
These are all types of fisheries that can and should be managed.
Managing Fisheries with Different Purposes
Sometimes there will be several types of fisheries on the same fishery resource that are being managed and monitored simultaneously. This type of a fishery environment requires that thorough and precise management process that takes in account all of the impacts and potential impacts of the various fisheries that are all sharing the same fishery resource, habitat and ecosystem.
Defining Fisheries by Environment
The habitat, or Environment where a fishery operates is very important because it dictates which types of fishing gear can be used based upon the understanding that every environment/ habitat has different vulnerabilities to the impacts of fishing.
- Coral Reef
- Nearshore - Coastal
- Demersal: Bottom dwellers
- Pelagic: Open Ocean
Fishing Method (Fisheries)
There is no denying that the permitted “Acceptable” fishing methods of fisheries will have direct impacts on the species catch rates, selectivity and habitat. Some types of methods include…
- Purse Seine
- Rod & Reel
- Gill Net
- Pole & Line (Live Bait)
Target Species (Fisheries)
Marine fisheries are generally multi-species fisheries and they include the catching of invertebrates (Shellfish) and finfish species. Most fisheries will establish and focus on a primary target species and they will also catch secondary marketable and sought after species. There will also be catch that is referred to as “discards” which are the undervalued and unmarketable species (economic discards, as well as the species that may not be retained due to State or Federal regulation (regulatory discards).
Target Species (Examples)
- Bigeye Tuna
- American Lobster
- American Lobster
Management Jurisdiction (Fisheries)
Any responsible and “well-managed” fisheries will mandate compliance and only operate in within fishery regulations wherever they occur. Therefore, even in International waters these should not be fished as unregulated and unmanaged fishing areas. They should be protected and understood, just any other fisheries. Some forms of Managements Juristictions are the Community Level, while most are State and Federally managed, as well as more than a few International and Regional Management jurisdictions.
Some of the American Fisheries would be…
Hawaii (Big Island – Kona) Tag & Release Blue Marlin Trolling Fishery
Alaska’s Pacific Salmon subsistence dip net fishery
Maine’s American lobster (Maine Lobster Fishery) commercial trap fishery
Eastern States Menhaden commercial, industrial purse seine fishery
Florida’s Stone Crab commercial trap fishery
Louisiana’s Gulf Shrimp commercial trawl fishery
Some of the Hawaiian Fisheries would be…
Pelagic deep-set longline fishery for Ahi (Bigeye Tuna)
Commercial live bait boat fishery for Aku (Skipjack)
Subsistence nearshore-pelagic net fishery for Mackerel Scad (Opelu)
Recreational spear fishery for reef fish
Recreational catch and release, fly fishing, bonefish (oio) fishery.
Commercial deep water shrimp trap fishery
These Types of Fisheries DO NOT EXIST in Hawaii...
Fishing using drifting FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) Uneconomical
Pole & Line fishing (Bait Boat) for Bigeye Tuna Ineffective
Trawling for mid-water and bottom fish species Ineffective
Harpoon fishing for Swordfish Ineffective
Purse Seining for Tuna Prohibited
Drift Gill Net fishing for Pelagic Species Prohibited
Dynamite fishing for Reef Fish Prohibited