Recreational Fisheries of Coastal New England

Recreational Fisheries of Coastal New England

Recreational Fisheries of Coastal New England

Recreational Fisheries of Coastal New England

Excerpt

Angling has roots that reach well back into ancient times, when fishing was "a sport of kings and the wealthy" (Royce 1987). The Sumerians (of the Persian Gulf) organized harvest of fisheries resources very early, with hundreds of people fishing in an organized system for the temples (in that society, the government). Such early fishing efforts cannot be classified as recreation, as they were conducted for the benefit, and under the orders, of others. Control over ownership by the temples was strictly enforced; poachers faced severe punishment for their indiscretion (Royce 1987). Fishing became a recreation very early in some cultures. Egyptian drawings of more than 3,400 years ago show leaders engaged in fishing; one can assume they were fishing not for subsistence but rather for pleasure. The Romans were first to propose that fish resources were a common property that could be "owned" only after they were caught. Roman law stated that waterways were public, and no one could be prevented from fishing in them. However, ownership by the aristocracy of waters and the fishes within them continued throughout all but recent history in many Old World societies.

Ownership issues were commonly less rigid in colonial America, but for many people fishing was still a subsistence rather than a recreational activity. Over the last two centuries, however, with the advent of more affordable equipment, ready access to fishing grounds, and increased leisure time, angling has evolved into one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the United States. In 1970, one out of every three U.S. men and one out of every nine U.S. women fished. The number of anglers in the United States increased 31% between 1960 and 1970 (Everhart et al. 1975), and continued to grow at a rate of about 3% annually through the 1980s (Royce 1987).

Not only is recreational fishing aesthetically important to an individual's quality of life, it can also have a major impact on local and regional economies. Anglers spent more than $7.2 billion on marine recreational fishing in the United States in 1985. Nearly $500 million was spent to fish in New England coastal waters alone . . .

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