Fascinating Fishing Facts

Fascinating Fishing Facts

It’s easy to enjoy fishing. Millions of people do, every day. Whether for sport or for food or for livelihood, fishing is extremely popular, and has been for a very long time.


How long have people been fishing?

We can’t be sure. 4000-year-old Egyptian art shows fishermen using rods and line to catch fish, but the practice is certainly a lot older than that. Archaeologists have discovered a fish hook made of shell that’s believed to be about 23,000 years old, but fishing is still much older than that. After all, the first fishermen probably fished with a spear.


The oldest evidence of fishing has been found in 40,000-year-old fossils in China. They show that fish were a significant food source for Tianyuan Man.


How popular is fishing?

Very. The global aquaculture market is about $270 billion, and expected to reach $357 billion within the next six years. 


About 55 million Americans – one of every six citizens – enjoys fishing, and that number keeps growing yearly. They spend upwards of $50 billion on gear and trips every year – nearly $1000 per person. American anglers spend about $300 million per year just for ice to keep fish and bait fresh.


About 17 million people go fly fishing every year, making it  the most popular form of fishing in the world. About 7 million Americans enjoy fly fishing.


Fishing can also be dangerous. Including farming and processing, about 24,000 people lose their lives in the fishing trade every year.


How many kinds of fish are there?

Fish are the most plentiful and diverse species of vertebrate on the planet, with over 34,000 known varieties. It’s estimated that there may be more than 15,000 species that have not yet been discovered in the vastness of the world’s oceans and waterways. About half of all fish live in freshwater.


Scientists estimate that there are about 3.5 trillion fish in all the world’s oceans.


More facts about fish

Despite what people believe, most fish are able to swim backwards as well as forwards. The most notable exception is the shark, which cannot bend its pectoral fin to accomplish this feat.


Not all fish live entirely in water, either. Certain species of “flying” fish can remain airborne for short periods of time. Lungfish are able to survive droughts by burying themselves in mud and breathing through their lungs rather than their gills.


The smallest fish in the world is the Philippine goby, which reaches only 8mm when fully grown. The largest is the whale shark, which grows up to 33 feet and can weigh as much as 41,000 pounds.


The fastest fish alive is thought to be the sailfish, which can explode from 0-60 MPH in just 2.6 seconds. For saltwater anglers, that can mean letting out to 300 feet of line. Sailfish can grow up to 10 feet long, tail to tip, and can weigh as much as 200 lbs.