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How are fish caught at sea?

Cod caught in a trawl netCod caught in a trawl netPeople have been catching fish from the sea, rivers and lakes for thousands of years. Fishing is still a source of food, and an important industry for many people living near the sea. Most fish are now caught by fleets using modern equipment. This is called commercial fishing. There are about 30,000 kinds of fish, but only a few hundred are caught commercially. The world’s major fishing grounds are the areas of relatively shallow waters near the coast.

Bluefin tunaBluefin tuna

A modern trawlerA modern trawler


Most sea fish are caught by fishermen working on trawlers. Trawlers are equipped with a large net that is trawled (dragged) along or just above the seabed. Many trawlers have freezers so the fish can be gutted and frozen on board. Trawlers are used to catch cod and tuna in deep waters. They also catch fish that live in the waters close to shore, such as haddock, plaice, sole and turbot.

Herring is the most widely eaten fish in the world: more than 10 million tonnes are consumed every year.

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