Fishing was an essential source of food in Prehistory and became a commercial activity in Antiquity. Deep-sea fishing first emerged in the 15th century, but really took off with the arrival of steam boats in the 19th century. The more powerful trawlers were able to pull larger nets. Recreational fishing, reserved for the wealthy classes in the 18th century, became more accessible as technological advances enabled better equipment to be produced at a lower cost.
Fishing techniques vary according to the type of fish to be caught, but have not evolved much over the centuries. Today, traditional methods are used alongside more industrial techniques. Nets, traps and fishing rods are used universally and such equipment has either evolved as technology has progressed or has remained dependent on local resources and knowledge in regions untouched by industrialisation.