I spend quite a lot of time here at Squid A Day blathering about one fishery or another, and I ought to remember that the word "fishery" isn't exactly common parlance. It's not jargon in the same way as "chromatophore" or, Lord help us, "mesopelagic." Still, it doesn't have an intuitive meaning to a lot of folks.

So when I wrote a short essay for the Squids4Kids program about squid fisheries, I opened with a discussion of just what a fishery is, before going on to talk about squid.
Have you ever gone fishing? Depending on where you live, you may have gone fly fishing for trout, ocean fishing for marlin, or diving for abalone. If you have, then you've been part of a fishery--the human activity of hunting an aquatic animal. Most likely it was a sport fishery, the kind of fishing that's done as a hobby.

Have you ever eaten seafood? If you've had fish sticks, a lobster dinner, or sushi and you didn't catch it yourself, then you were the consumer of a commercial fishery--the kind of fishing where fishermen earn a living and make a business by selling what they catch.

The word "fishery" refers to the whole operation, including the people who catch the animals (fishermen, boat captains), the equipment they use (boats, rods and reels, traps, scuba diving gear), the people who deal with the catch (purchasers and processors), and the billions of humans around the world who eat seafood. There are many different kinds of fisheries, from small-scale artisanal fisheries on remote islands, where children walk on the beach collecting sea cucumbers in a bucket, to huge industrial fishing fleets that use airplanes to spot fish schools and machinery to drop thousands and thousands of nets and hooks into the middle of the ocean. Many fisheries are managed, which means that governments make rules about the number of fishermen, the type of equipment they can use, the places and times they can fish, and how many fish they can catch.

Squid have been fished around the world for a very long time. The ancient Chinese and Greeks caught them, along with the squid's cousins, cuttlefish and octopuses. But in just the last few decades, squid fisheries have been growing and growing. This recent boom in squid fishing is at least partly due to two things you may have heard of: "the tragedy of the commons" and "fishing down the food web."
If you want to read the rest, here it is!