I happen to live near the ocean, in Massachusetts. I can walk to at least a couple of different locations, a bridge and a jetty, where the fishing is good. There are plenty of amateur fishermen in the area. Some fish from the shore, and others fish from small boats. The most sought-after fish in these waters are bluefish and striped bass. But fishing close to shore, you’re more likely to find a small fish called scup and maybe a fluke (also called “summer flounder”), or a sea robin (which always get thrown back).
Fishing is a popular recreational activity. But can it be a reliable, though supplemental, source of food, once the commercial food economy collapses? (And don’t kid yourself. The food economy is a house of cards, and one day it will tumble.) Well, like hunting, this is one of those prepping activities that requires knowledge and skill. People are used to just picking out the food that they want on the store shelves, and complaining if their favorite variety or brand is out of stock. It’s going to be a shocking change for a lot of people, once they have to grow or catch their own food.
If you don’t have the skills and knowledge, you might want to apply yourself, and learn to fish (and hunt). Get some experience now, because once the SHTF, there will be a large crowd of newbies buying equipment and trying their luck. And that’s the main problem that I see, if prepper wish to use fishing or hunting as a food source. The woods are going to be packed with unskilled hunters, armed and dangerous (and not in a good way). The best fishing spots are going to be crowded, and it won’t take too long before they are fished out. There are only so many game animals per acre, and only so many fish in a lake or stream.
There’s a lot of fish in the Atlantic (or Pacific or Gulf). But when you are limited to fishing on-shore or near-shore, it’s a limited body of water. You aren’t drawing fish out of the whole ocean. So I tend to think that a local area, even along an ocean shore, can be fished out. Over time, there will be a small population of those particular fish that venture close to shore. But it must take longer than a lake or stream.
Due to competition from other fishermen and a large number of newbies, the amount of food you can get from fishing after the SHTF is going to be limited, more so than at the present time. Fishing is also time consuming. So is hunting. It’s not like a quick trip to the grocery store. And that’s another limitation.
At best, hunting and fishing are going to be occasional sources of supplemental food. And that means that stored food and maybe a survival garden are going to be your main sources of food for the long haul.
On the other hand, when food is scarce, any additional food is welcome. And fish are high in protein and healthy fats. If you have wisely stored lots of vegetable oil, and some flour, you have an excellent main course. Throw in some veggies from the survival garden, and you have a great meal.