For their living, the Ainu depended on fishing as well as on hunting. Many villages were located by the sea or a river through which salmon and trout went upstream.
The Ainu caught trout primarily in summer and salmon in autumn. They also caught ito (Japanese huchen) , dace and other fish.
Gaff-like spears called "marek" were used to catch salmon and trout individually. Other salmon and trout fishing methods were "tesh" fishing in which salmon swimming upstream were caught by damming the river ; "uray" fishing using weirs and "rawomap" fishing using conical basket traps made of bamboo or twigs of willows.
For salmon and trout fishing, each village or individual had a definite river fishing territory. Outsiders could not freely fish there.
In 3 to 4 m long boats, the Ainu vigorously fished and hunted swordfish, tuna, sunfish and marine mammals like fur seals, other seals, dolphins and whales. Particularly in the Funka Bay, fur seal hunting and whale fishing were popular.