An fishing villages are a villages, typically placed near a fishing ground, with an economy supported catching fish and harvesting seafood. The continents and islands around the world own coastlines totalling around 356,000 kilometres. From Neolithic times, this coastlines, as well as the shorelines of inland lakes and the banks of rivers, have been punctuated with fishing villages. Most surviving fishing villages are traditional.
Coastal fishing villages are often somewhat isolated, and sited around a small natural harbour which provides safe haven for a village fleet of fishing boats. The village needs to provide a safe way of landing fish and securing boats when they are not in use. Fishing villages may operate from a beach, particularly around lakes. For example, around parts of Lake Malawi, each fishing village has its own beach.
Traditional fishing boats evolve over time to meet the local conditions, such as the materials available locally for boat building, the type of sea conditions the boats will encounter, and the demands of the local fisheries.
Some villages move out onto the water itself, such as the floating fishing villages of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, the stilt houses of Tai O built over tidal flats near Hong Kong, and the kelong found in waters off Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Other fishing villages are built on floating islands, such as the Phumdi on Loktak Lake in India, and the Uros on Lake Titicaca which borders Peru and Bolivia.
In less developed countries, some traditional fishing villages persist in ways that have changed little from earlier times. In more developed countries, traditional fishing villages are changing due to socioeconomic factors like industrial fishing and urbanization. Over time, some fishing villages outgrow their original function as artisanal fishing villages.
Destin on the coast of Florida, has evolved from an artisanal fishing village into a seaside resort dedicated to tourism with a large fishing fleet of recreational charter boats. The tourist appeal of fishing villages has become so big that the Korean government is purpose-building 48 fishing villages for their tourist drawing power. In 2004 China reported it had 8,048 fishing villages.