Taking, processing, and marketing of fish and other seafood from oceans, rivers, and lakes. Fishing is one of the primary forms of food production; it ranks with farming and probably predates it. The fishing industry employs more than 5 million people worldwide. The major countries engaged in marine fishing are Japan, China, the U.S., Chile, Peru, India, South Korea, Thailand, and the countries of northern Europe. The aquatic life harvested includes both marine and freshwater species of fish, shellfish, mammals, and seaweed. They are processed into food for human consumption, animal feeds, fertilizers, and ingredients for use in other commercial commodities.
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Sport of catching fish—freshwater or saltwater—typically with rod, line, and hook. Fishing is as old as the human ability to use tools to capture prey. The first significant modern innovations, including use of a reel, a rod with line guides, and a hook with an offset point, came in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Horsehair was used as line until the mid 19th century, when it was replaced by textile materials; these in turn were replaced by nylon in the 1930s. Wood and bamboo rods yielded to rods of fibreglass and other synthetic materials. Forms of sport fishing practiced today include fly fishing (freshwater), in which a fly-like hook is repeatedly cast upon the water surface to attract biting fish; bait fishing (fresh- and saltwater), in which live or artificial bait is set or drawn below the surface; and big-game fishing (saltwater), in which heavy-duty tackle is used to land large marine species (including tuna, marlin, and swordfish) from a motorized boat.
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