Fishnets: Waxing Philosophical
The more sophisticated the netting, naturally the greater the threat to sea life. Given its strong capacity and relatively homogeneous targets, the introduction of encirclement fishing with large-scale nets has posed a threat to the very survival of marine life.
Nets used for pond fishing, described above, is also an example. A wide net with fine mesh used in a small pond is capable of thoroughly trawling the very bottom of the enclosure and exhausting its supply of fish in one go. This is just short of draining a pond in order to catch all its fish!
In fact, the ancients long ago noted that man’s knowledge of fishnet fabrication put them at odds with Nature. Thus the adage “To catch all in one sweep of the net” was born, the wise retort being “Never cast a net of hole-free mesh.”
In ancient times hunting and fishing were not considered distinct activities. Targets for nets weren’t just marine life; they included animals in the mountains and birds in the forests. In the face of this dragnet covering the air and the land, man’s prey had nowhere to flee. However, the man-made disasters suffered by other living creatures will eventually be visited upon mankind itself. It is said that Confucius always “fished with fishing rod, not a fishnet,” a sign of his moral decency.
The first person to apply the lesson of the overuse of fishnets to the field of human governance was Li Ge, who held the office of Historian of the State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC). Lige’s