DF2012:Fishing industry

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v0.34.11 · v0.31.25 · v0.28.181.40d · v0.23.130.23a
This article is about the current version of DF.

The fishing industry is one of five food-producing industries (along with farming, the meat industry, the poultry industry, and the beekeeping industry). In addition to sustaining your hungry dwarves, the fishing industry produces non-edible raw materials that can be used by your workshops, like shells and extracts. Fishing is an excellent way to initially feed your dwarves, requiring very little setup or maintenance. Unfortunately, fishing is not sustainable; due to a bug fish populations will eventually be depleted and your fishing industry will grind to a halt.

Contents

[edit] Fishing

Fishing is the primary activity associated with the fishing industry, as it is the main way to acquire fish. Fishing is unique in that unlike hunting or trapping, dwarves need no special equipment to catch fish; they just pull the hapless critters right out of the water with their bare hands. The fish that they catch are usually vermin fish (or really aquatic animals in general, not just fish), which makes keeping track of stocks much more difficult. Each fish caught will each yield one meal, once prepared. Note that the presence of vermin fish on-screen does not signify there are fish there for fishing.

If you simply tell your fisherdwarves to go fish, they will do so in the nearest source of water. Most water sources more than a few tiles in size have some stock of fish, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you want your dwarves fishing there; stocks of fish in bodies of water that do not flow are currently non-renewable.Bug:2780 Even large lakes may eventually run dry because of this bug, so the best source of fish is a river, into which fish are constantly both arriving and leaving, giving you a rolling stock to catch.

[edit] Fishing Zone

Fishing zones are preferred areas to fish and changing standing orders to zone-only fishing with o-z, and then setting fishing to zone-only will force all fishing to be done in the zone. To set up fishing zones, designate a zone(i) as usual, on shore tile adjacent to water. You can only set the zone to be used for fishing if there is some fish-bearing water inside, or if it is not yet known if there are any fish there. If there are no fish in a particular region, you will get the announcement "There is nothing to catch in the [region] swamps", and designating a zone next to water in that region will show "0" for fishing.

[edit] Fish cleaning

Freshly caught raw fish cannot be eaten; they must first be cleaned at a fishery. The presence of raw fish automatically triggers "Prepare a raw fish" to be queued up at the nearest fishery. So long as you have enough fish cleaners and fisheries to keep up with your fisherdwarves, fish cleaning should be an automated process. Raw fish is a classification in the stocks menu for fish that have yet to be cleaned, useful for seeing how backlogged the fishing industry is, or isn't.

Once a dwarf catches a fish, he will carry it off to the nearest stockpile and return to fishing; even if the dwarf has fish cleaning enabled, he will almost never perform the task on his catch, as fishing is regarded as higher-priority, even if fish in your stockpile are in danger of rotting.Verify A rule of thumb is to have twice as many fish cleaners as fishers, as fishers generally catch fish faster than cleaners can process them. To this effect, mature fortresses often have dedicated cooks/brewers/fish cleaners tasked to their food preparation areas. It is especially important to have barrels and/or large pots in stock if you have a fishing industry, as openly stored fish rot very quickly.

Once a fish is cleaned, it is known as a "prepared" fish, and can be immediately eaten. Animals with shells, like pond turtles, will also leave behind their shells, useful for the purposes of bone carving and appeasing moody dwarves. Fish, both raw and prepared, can also be cooked into food at a kitchen; since this loses your shell, you probably want to disable this behavior for animals that have them (turtles, mussels, and oysters).

Pearls are a as-of-yet unimplemented mussel and oyster product. Although you can tell your dwarves to decorate with pearl at a craftsdwarf's workshop, nothing will actually happen, as there are no pearls in the game; this is actually one of the longest-running and most obvious missing features, having persisted since 23a.

[edit] Trading

You can buy processed fish at embark and from traders, in which case the key word is processed; they will always already be prepared, and will never require preparation or have a shell. Buying fish from caravans is often a good idea if you do not have a strong fishing industry, as it adds to the dwarven diet variety, which is always a good thing.

[edit] Fish dissection

Fisheries can also queue up a "capture a live fish" task; to fulfill this task a fisherdwarf will grab an animal trap and set it in the river, retrieving it when it catches something. Note that if no animal trap is available, the task will occupy the fishery forever, preventing its other functions from taking place. Captured live fish can serve as an attraction in an aquarium, or be made into extracts with the "dissect a live fish" task at the fishery, using the fish dissection skill. In particular, dissected moghoppers yield five units of mog juice, each worth 50☼, making it quite lucrative for something that would otherwise have served little more than a single meal.

[edit] Fish hunting

Larger, non-vermin fish cannot be caught with bare hands for obvious reasons. Large fish like carp and sharks are individual creatures, and appear as such on the unit list, and must be butchered, producing dozens or, in the case of whales, hundreds of meat products. Note that fish hunting is mostly an oceanic activity - rivers will only ever have occasional carp runs and the like.

Advanced fortresses located near the ocean, a lake, or large and well-occupied sections of river may make use of a fishing-adapted drowning chamber: a large room lined with all sorts of traps into which water is allowed to filter through via water pump pressure. No creature knows of the evils of the chambers as do the merpeople, whose numbers were, in the past, constantly reduced by dwarves seeking their extremely valuable innards.

Large fish can be caught in or killed by traps located along the river bottom. The issue is setting the traps and retrieving their bodies for butchering, both tasks that require a dry riverbed; this means that you must dam or redirect river flow, build the traps, funnel it back through, and then have a way to quickly get rid of the water (probably with screw pumps) so your dwarves can drag them back to the butcher's shop. Such river control, as well as the construction of genocidal chambers, is a fairly complex engineering project.

[edit] Industry management

For the most part, the fishing industry is self-sustaining. Have some fishers, have some fisheries, and have some fish cleaners, and everything should run smoothly. However, a big part of fishing inefficiency is hauling the fish from the river to the table; solving this requires bringing the river closer to home, necessary for wells as well and potentially doubling or even tripling your production as dwarves can toss fish right into the nearest food stockpile.

The largest challenge in the fishing industry is ensuring the safety of your fisherdwarves. When working outdoors, they are susceptible to ambushers. The process of building an artificial river is out of the scope of this article, but creating an internal fishery is easy once you have the pressure worked out: simply channel down to your river, just like with a well, and build some floor grates, as dwarves have no trouble fishing through them. Doing so removes the danger of being far from home in case of a potential siege or ambush and keeps your fisherdwarves happily inside at all times.

[edit] Industry Flowchart

Dwarf.png Fishing
Arrowhead-bottom.gif
Arrowhead-bottom.gif

α α α α

α α α α

Raw Fish

α α α α

α α α α

Live Fish
Dwarf.png
α #
 
Fish
Cleaning
Dwarf.png
α #
 
Fish
Dissection
Extracts for trading
Arrowhead-right.gif
Arrowhead-bottom.gif
Arrowhead-right.gif

² ² ² ²

² ² ² ²

Shell
Arrowhead-bottom.gif

α α α α

α α α α

Fish
Arrowhead-right.gif
Food industry
Craft industry

[edit] Bugs

  • If you designate a fishing zone in an underground pool, fishers will never give up fishing there even when there aren't any fish to catch. Bug:1854
  • Stocks of fish are not renewable. Even with moderate fishing, the fish on the map will go extinct Bug:2780.
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