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The importance of fisheries to national economy

Koi Fish, Animals, Fish, Swimming

Definition of fisheries
Fisheries generally refer to a lot of things in one basket. We can include activities like rearing of fish, catching of fish both on the high Seas, in lakes and lagoons. It also involves the processing, and research. It involves sales of fish at both the subsistence and levels. One can also talk about the production of tools used in the industry.

Over the years, several types of fisheries have been identified and some of them would be discussed in the paragraphs below.

Commercial fishing
Commercial fishing refers to the activity of fishing where fish and or other seafood are captured from water bodies like the Sea, rivers, and lakes and sold to the general public in order to make a profit. In this type of fisheries, small, medium and big fishing vessels are employed and they go out to the Sea for many long hours or days. Tuner fishing, for example, can be classified under commercial fishery.

Fisherman Fishing Reel River Rod Fish Catc 

Subsistence fishing
Subsistence fishing, on the other hand, is the opposite of commercial fishing. In this type of fishing, the aim is not necessarily to sell the fish in order to make a profit, though a few may be sold to meet household demands. The fish caught here is only meant to cater to the immediate needs of the fisherfolk's family. The fish is taken from the water body and straight into the waiting pots of the fisherman.

Artisanal fishing
Another type of fishing is artisanal fishing. Here, there is not much high tech involved and it is also not on a big scale like commercial fishing. People who live close to water bodies like lakes, rivers and seas, just fish close by the shores or go a little farther afield and catch fish for their households.

Recreational fishing
In the case of recreational fishing, the major push is to engage in a sporting activity. People compete with others in the fishing activity. In this situation also, there is a level of fun involved. The fisher-folks do not really need the fish to prepare their meals; neither do they need the fish to sell to others in order to make a profit. They fish to keep fit.

Provides food
One of the reasons why fishing is important is because it provides food for millions of people all over the world. The human race needs a specific amount of fish protein daily, there are billions of people populating the world today and most, if not all of these people, need protein in their system. For those who prefer fish protein, fishing is a very important source of that fish protein.

Creates employment for people
Another way in which fishing is important is that it provides a ready source of employment for people. Commercial farmers, for example, need to employ people to be able to catch enough fish to keep up with the demands of the consuming public. Apart from those who catch fish, there are others who are involved in the marketing of fish. There are also people who buy the fish and turn them into delicious meals for sale to make a living. All these people are employed. In the U.S. alone, about two million people are employed in the industry. According to the F.A.O. country report on Ghana for 2002, about 526,000 people are employed in the fishing industry with an export value of $94 million.

Generates income for folks
Again, fishing is important because it generates income for different categories of people. For example, the commercial fisherman puts up his catch for sale. The marketer gets the fish from the fisherman and distributes it down the chain to homes, restaurants, schools that operate canteens and so on. These activities help to generate income for those involved.

Fishing Boats, Fishing Port, Beach, Sea

Source of foreign exchange
Another reason why fishing is important is the fact that it serves as a source of foreign exchange for national economies. Many countries which are involved in commercial fishing export their products to other countries and earn hard cash for their troubles. For close to 20 years, China has remained the largest exporter of fish. It is estimated that in 2017 alone, China produced close to 70 million tons of seafood products valued at billions of dollars

Reduces stress
Those who engage in recreational fishing use the activity to distress. In other words, anybody who feels tensed and engages in recreational fishing can feel relaxed afterward. This can also improve the health status of the people involved and impact national productivity.

The social importance of fisheries                                                                                        Fisheries is an important aspect of the life of a Ghanaian, Nigerian or anybody for that matter. In communities with water bodies, fisheries is a crucial source of protein for the local families. Since some or all people who catch fish sell part or all of their catch, it provides a ready source of income for communities.  Fisheries offers employment, and therefore a source of livelihood.


1. a. What is fishing?
    b. Identify three types of fishing and discuss five ways in which fishing is important.

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