What have freshwater fishes ever done for us?
Before delving into the inner worlds of fishes, and reflecting on the fact that fish are so often underappreciated, it is instructive to consider the many ways in which our heritage of freshwater fishes benefits us. This chapter is about the diversity of services by which freshwater fishes support human wellbeing. Fishes, in fact, do rather a lot of things for us, many of which we have perhaps failed to appreciate in these terms and then to factor into the ways in which we interact with, protect and manage the world. Britain's freshwater fishes are, or have been, directly exploited as physical resources by people in a wide diversity of ways, from food to medicines and ornamental and other resources. In contemporary Britain, the fish we eat are generally marine species, or else farmed trout, salmon and other species, that may have been transported long distances under refrigeration or in a frozen state.