These were divided into two classes: (1) “those that have fins and scales,” which were allowed as food, and (2) “those that have not fins and scales,” which were considered an abomination (Lev. 11:9–12). The Jews of Old Testament times do not seem to have paid much attention to the fisheries, for biblical allusions are few, and no fish is mentioned by name at all. The Tyrians brought fish to Jerusalem for sale (Neh. 13:16), and Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician fishing ports. There was a fish market (gate) in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 33:14; Neh. 3:3), the supply for which came chiefly from the Mediterranean coast. The fishing of the Sea of Galilee in the time of Christ was extensive and of commercial importance. It was chiefly done by means of a drag-net or seine, which is a large net, leaded and buoyed, carried out by boats, and then drawn in toward land in a large semicircle (Matt. 13:47–50; Luke 5:5–6). We also read of casting nets (Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16; John 21:6–8). Fishing with a hook and line is also mentioned (Job 41:1–2; Matt. 17:27); but fly-fishing was unknown, as none of the fish of Palestine will rise to a fly.
The worship of fish was specially forbidden (Deut. 4:18). Idolatry of this sort was widely spread in the East.