Fishes Now and in History

We Once Were Fish

Fish by far are the most diverse vertebrates on Earth with at least 20,000 species worldwide.


They are also the most heavily harvested wild animals on Earth.


Research shows 70% of the world's fish stocks are now either fully-exploited, over-fished, depleted, or are rebuilding from previous over-fishing.


  • 160,000 species of marine life have been described in all seas to date


  • 300,000 to one million or more species are estimated likely to exist

  • 99%+ of the global Catch of marine fish is caught within 320 kilometres (199 miles) of shore

  • Half of the world's population lives in coastal areas

  • The two most widespread and serious sources of coastal pollution are sewage disposal and sedimentation from deforestation, land clearing and erosion.

  • 29.2 million metric tonnes of non target fish is caught annually in world marine fisheries, 95% of which is discarded, dead or dying. Equivalent to more than 25% of the total marine catch

  • More than 33% of this waste occurs in shrimp fisheries

  • Shark fossil records date as far back as 400 million years. Dinosaurs were around 240 million years ago



300,000 years ago or perhaps even earlier, a man in Africa with no knowledge of the spoken word returned to his tribe after a hunt with a distinct air of frustration about him - he held his hands up and apart to convey to the tribe "the size of the one that got away" - and without knowing it, instantly facilitated the cognitive skills of selective and creative memory and skepticism in his peers.

Nothing has changed since that moment and now his offspring now cover the globe.

There is evidence to suggest, regardless of the numerous variations of colour and creed, that man fom Africa has many just as creative fisherman decendents spread right around the globe. (Note: the previous historical 'fact' was pure speculation by Fish Art Gallery)












  • Rock art depicting fish traps in the El-Hosh area of Upper Egypt have been dated to at least 8,000 years ago. It is the oldest artwork ever recorded in the Nile Valley. A sample taken from a typical fish-trap design was radiocarbon dated at 5,900 to 5,300 B.C. This date provides a minimum-age estimate for the petroglyphs


  • Pliny the Elder or Caius Plinius Secundus (AD 23-79) a Roman officer, author and scientist, in the first century after Christ, relates that the multitude of Tuna which met the fleet of Alexander The Great (356-323BC) on one occasion was so vast that, only by advancing in battle lines, as on an enemy, were the ships able to make their way through the school (? - or so it is said - see Africa story above)


  • Ichthyology, or the study of fish comes from the Greek word for fish ICHTHYS


  • The tackle and bait business supporting recreational fishing has been around as early as AD 1600


  • The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton (b.9 Aug 1593 – d.19 Dec 1683) was first published in the year AD1653. No book apart from the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer has been re-printed as often. It remains in print.


Above: Photoshopped anciet Rock Art 

depicts "the size of the one that got away"