The Yin and Yang of Commercial Fishing


At first glance, commercial fishing may not seem to have anything in common with the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. But the main principle of the philosophy is that everything exists as interconnected and contradictory opposites. During time spent on the water, this balance of opposites and its importance becomes evident.

The public perception of commercial fishing is rough around the edges, heavy seas and hard work. But what isn’t as familiar are the quiet moments, expansive environments and the deep peace that comes after you have pushed beyond what you thought were your physical limits. The Yang - strength and action - and the Yin - passive and sustaining - are both played out through commercial fishing.

In each moment, there is a seed of Yin within the Yang, or vice versa. There could be scales flying and teeth gritting, but zoom out and you’ll find yourself drifting through the fog in land that seems before time.

After a long night of toiling in the wind and rain, balance can be found in watching the sun rise, soaking in the sense of accomplishment as the bow turns home. Experiencing the immense comfort of falling into your bunk for a well-deserved rest.

In the moments of seemingly never-ending action and intense work on deck, there is the ever- present feeling of calm that comes from being on the open ocean. The balance created by these two opposing yet complementary forces is what ties people to the fishing lifestyle in a very profound way.

Article and photos by Chelsey Ellis

BC FishermenDesign