Fishing as a part of cultural heritage

Fishing has been an integral of human culture since ancient times, and fishermen of the past had a deep relationship with the sea- only taking what they needed whilst respecting the creatures living in it. The following chapter will look briefly at the history of fishing and cultures still harvesting respectfully in the present day.

The Solomon Islands (present day):

The Solomon Islands posses a range of marine community types ranging from mangrove estuaries to coral reefs (Johannes & Hviding, 1987).
Bonito (tuna) are the most valued fish as they require expert techniques and knowledge to catch due to their unpredictable migrations from the deep ocean. Dolphins are harvested for their meat, with their teeth being used as money (British museum).
The following photo shows the beautifully hand crafted fish hooks used by fishermen in the Solomon Islands, each one designed for catching a specific fish, based on observations and years of experience passed down through the generations.


The Pacific coastal communities still consist largely of small-scale artisenal fisheries that fish using a variety of methods depending on the target species. These fisheries only make up some 6 percent of the overall Guatemalan fleet (Project Global, 2007) and generally all the aquatic species landed do not get exported & supply only the Guatemalan market. Most communities have a fish "wholesaler" who buys a mixture of marine & freshwater organisms, aswell as sea turtle eggs, and which are then sold on in the larger cities & towns. Boats are usually made of fibreglass or wood & have a small outboard engine and fish using gillnets (trasmallo galleros), drift nets (red agallera), longlines, single lines with hooks, & beach seines & traps (Project Global, 2007). Aquatic species targetted by the fisheries include some of the following; snapper, snook, shark, dolphinfish, shrimp, & bagre. These fishermen can be selective in what they catch & as they regularly check their gear their effect on non-target species is minimal- they are able to release unwanted species and be size selective. Ancient civilisations such as the Olmecs & Maya, would have undoubtebly harvested the marine life of the Pacific coast of Guatemala, & there is evidence all along this coastline which suggests their presence.