fishing, act of catching fish for consumption or display. Fishing—usually by hand, club, spear, net, and (at least as early as 23,000 years ago) by hook—was known to prehistoric people. It was practiced by the ancient Persians, Egyptians, and Chinese, and it is mentioned in the Odyssey and in the Bible. It is a major means of subsistence and livelihood today, not only in societies such as those of islands of the South Pacific and other regions but also in most nations of the world (see fisheries).
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