Fishing (technology)

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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. — Lao Tzu

Humans have relied upon the technology of fishing from its earliest development to provide food. The most primitive peoples gathered mollusks and oysters from the sand; eventually they learned to make spears to capture the rich foodstuffs out of reach of land. Fishing enables sophisticated advancements in fishing; building coastal craft, weaving and deploying nets, constructing traps and so forth. In time, fishing became important the world over, with ships journeying thousands of miles to rich fishing grounds.



Fishing is a source of communication, allowing contact with other settlements along the sea shore and by water routes. Historically, this has led to agreements establishing territorial waters and cooperation among sea-going folk, so that different nationalities respect one another's boats and coordinate together in searches and rescues. Time at sea has also been the source of much superstition surrounding fear of the sea and of storms, with much respect given to sea gods even among monotheistic religions. Sea chanties and myths proliferate among these cultures; with higher technologies, pleasure fishing becomes an intellectual pasttime.


Listed in order of advancement. Additions are changes to the production of 6-mile hexes.

Application Tech Level
hand-gathering 5
catch fishing 5
dried fish 5
aquaculture 6
bow fishing 6
outward fishing 6
salted fish 6
catch fishing 7
trap fishing 7
smoked fish 7
deep sea fishing 8

Hand gathering, the harvesting of sea foods and products without the use of tools, including picking up shellfish or kelp, digging for clams or crabs, diving underwater to catch abalone or lobsters, flounder tramping, noodling for catfish with bare hands, trout binning & tickling, and pearl diving.

Adds +1 food to type-7 hexes that are water-adjacent. Replaced by angling (tech-7).

Catch fishing, also called artisanal fishing, is primitive fishing method employing boats for making short (rarely overnight) fishing trips along intertidal and wetland ranges. The catch sets out to obtain food that is rarely marketed, with sufficient amounts to meet the community's subsistence needs.

— Tools include the use of fishing line made of gut or woven fibre, which is woven to make fishing nets or is used with gaffs, bone hooks and barbed spears. Fishing boats consist of lightly-built, narrow craft suitable for 1-3 persons, made of natural materials and lacking the strength to survive a storm in deep water. Caulking is done with natural materials.
Adds +2 food to type-6 hexes and above that are water-adjacent.

Dried fish, a method of food preservation that uses sun and wind to remove water by evaporation. In northern lands, the food is first frozen and water is removed by sublimation. Drying fish is the world's oldest known preservation method, with dried fish having a storage life of several years. The method is cheap and effective in suitable climates and can be done by the fisherfolk prior to tranferring it to market.

Adds +1 labour to type-5 hexes and above that are water-adjacent. Advanced by salting (tech-6) and smoking (tech-7).

Aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae and other living things in stock ponds. The method involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater stocks whose numbers are maintained, unlike the harvesting of wild fish. When done in intertidal ranges, it is called mariculture. A rearing process is used to create larger and better tasting stocks. Humanoids in subterranean cultures often employ aquaculture.

— Tools include the use of shellfish traps and fishing net baskets stabilized by bamboo and wattle fencing.
Adds +1 food to type-4 hexes and above that are sea or lake adjacent.

Bowfishing, uses barbed arrows with fishing line, enabling the drawing in by hand or using a reel. Commonly hunted species include carp, gar and bowfin in freshwater, rays and shark in saltwater. Bowfishing arrows are considerably heavier and stronger than archery arrows. Bowfishers most often shoot from boats.

— Tools include the introduction of archery.
Adds +1 health to type-7 hexes. Fishing clans count 2-5 bow proficiencies among war parties.

Outward fishing, describes the exploitation of fisheries upon ocean bank ranges, demanding journeys of 2-5 days. There, sufficient fish can be caught to enable marketing. The presence of ocean currents and weather demands stronger boats and boatmaking artisans.

— Boatyards consist of blocks where boats are assembled and repaired, with primitive workshops, channels, piers, embankments and roofed shacks. Usually but not always, boatyards are located upon a natural harbour. Umiaks are open skin boats for 4-10 hunters that are paddle-driven and covered-over to ride in deep seas. Karvi are primitive longboats (less than a catamaran) that will enable 18 rowers and 17 additional passengers, used for fishing, trade and war. Later karvi have sails (tech-8)
Adds +1 food and +1 labour to type-2/3 hexes; +2 food to type 1 hexes, when sea adjacent.

See Discussion for more notes.