Fisheries Scientists recommend recreational fishing policy reform

A March 2019 article identifies a need to rethink management of recreation fisheries, including improved data collection and monitoring. While commercial fisheries provide for most global seafood production, the authors explain that in many areas sport fisheries now equal or exceed harvests of some fish species, particularly wild fish stocks in coastal and marine fisheries. Sport fishermen catch 47 billion fish annually at a global level - half released alive and half harvested for food.

The article identifies increasing conservation concerns and socio-economic issues that warrant changes to current management systems which do not adequately lead to sustainability, address stakeholder conflicts, or provide the most desirable experience for sport fishermen. The scientists recommend five policy reforms to improve the sustainability of recreational fishing:

(1) a switch from managing recreational fisheries for yield in terms of food and income to bio-economic management targets for quality fishing experiences;

(2) increased engagement by sport fishing organizations in management processes with a primary goal of cooperative management and conservation rather than a focus on securing access rights;

(3) policy diversity for different ecosystems to provide a range of fishing opportunities;

(4) management policies that more clearly identify fish stocks as a common-pool resource that can be depleted by recreational fishing and encourage angler investments in sustainability and

(5) improved data collection and monitoring.

The article is available online at: