Commercial fishing is fishing for commercial profit. It appeared in history when people were able to catch more fish and other sea animals that they were able to consume. They started selling them to the people that didn’t fish. Although fish was sold since the ancient time, we today consider commercial fishing as a fishing of large amount of fish.
Humankind first started to catch fish and shellfish from the shallow waters of seas, lakes and streams. Firs fish was consumed without storing and before it spoils. But population grew and with it need for more fish and a way to store it for longer times. Fish was preserved by drying, smoking, salting, or fermentation and larger quantities of fish were caught with specialized equipment which appeared in time.
Earliest commercial fishing began in Middle Ages when herring were caught in huge numbers in northern Europe. Vikings used dry cod as food during their travels since 800 years and they started to sell them to the southern parts of Europe like Italy, Spain and Portugal. This trade lasted 1000 years. Large fleets started to hunt whales in the Atlantic and in the South Pacific in 17th century. Sailing ships were used for commercial fishing until the steam ships appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century and took over. Cutters and yawls used drift gill nets and set-nets to catch fish around Europe. Nets that they used were operated by hand or by hand winch. When steam-driven winches began replacing hand winches, they allowed for fishing gear to increase in size and weight and to catch more fish. 20Th century saw appearance of internal combustion engines which replaced steam engines (but not completely - last steam ships operated well into 1950s.) These internal combustion engines were placed at first on the smaller boats in the early 20th century to become, more or less, universally adopted with larger ships.
Large stern trawlers were invented in 40s. They were improvement because they processed their catch on board. They became very popular around the world and by 1960s Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Poland, East Germany, and Spain had trawlers in their commercial fleets. During the 1950s, mechanization of commercial fishing ships is greatly improved. Power block was invented for hauling the gear and power-driven drum which hauls and stores different types of nets. For stern trawlers was invented stern chute which allowed for a larger and stronger mechanization to be used. Today commercial fishing gives over two million jobs in the United States alone in is one of the most important sources of food on Earth. Major corporations are owners of the major fishing industries but there are also small families as well that take part in this business.
Commercial fishing doesn’t catch only fish. Fishing ships also catch mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms. They also harvest seaweed which is harvested in the water or on the seashore. Seaweed is used for human consumption, as food for cattle, as a fertilizer, and certain industries use it as a raw material.