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Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fish are often caught as wildlife from the natural environment (fresh water or marine), but may also be caught from stocked bodies of water such as ponds, canals, park wetlands and reservoirs. Fishing techniques include hand-gathering, spearing, netting, angling, shooting and trapping, as well as more destructive and often illegal techniques such as electrocution, blasting and poisoning.
The term fishing broadly includes catching aquatic animals other than fish, such as crustaceans (shrimp/lobsters/crabs), shellfish, cephalopods (octopus/squid) and echinoderms (starfish/sea urchins). The term is not normally applied to harvesting fish raised in controlled cultivations (fish farming). Nor is it normally applied to hunting aquatic mammals, where terms like whaling and sealing are used instead.
Fishing has been an important part of human culture since hunter-gatherer times, and is one of the few food production activities that have persisted from prehistory into the modern age, surviving both the Neolithic Revolution and successive Industrial Revolutions. In addition to being caught to be eaten for food, fish are caught as recreational pastimes. Fishing tournaments are held, and caught fish are sometimes kept long-term as preserved or living trophies. When bioblitzes occur, fish are typically caught, identified, and then released.
According to the United Nations FAO statistics, the total number of commercial fishers and fish farmers is estimated to be 38 million. Fishing industries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect employment to over 500 million people in developing countries. In 2005, the worldwide per capita consumption of fish captured from wild fisheries was 14.4 kilograms (32 lb), with an additional 7.4 kilograms (16 lb) harvested from fish farms.