Data about recreational fisheries are scarce in many areas of the world. In the absence of monitoring data collected in situ, alternative data sources, such as digital applications and social media platforms, have the potential to produce valuable insights. Yet, the potential of social media for drawing insights about recreational fisheries is still underexplored. In this study, we applied data mining on YouTube videos to better understand recreational fisheries targeting common dentex (Dentex dentex), an iconic species of Mediterranean recreational fisheries. We chose this model species because of ongoing controversies about the relative impact of recreational angling and recreational spearfishing on its conservation status. In Italy alone, from 2010 to 2016 recreational spearfishers posted 1051 videos compared to 692 videos posted by recreational anglers. Only the upload pattern of spearfishing videos followed a seasonal pattern with peaks in July, suggesting seasonality of spearfishing catches of D. dentex – a trend not found for anglers. The average mass of the fish declared in recreational angling videos (6.43 kg) was significantly larger than the one in spearfishing videos (4.50 kg). Videos posted by recreational spearfishers received significantly more likes and comments than those posted by recreational anglers, suggesting that the social engagement among recreational spearfishers was stronger than in anglers. We also found that the mass of the fish positively predicted social engagement in recreational spearfishing videos, but not in videos posted by recreational anglers. This could be caused by the generally smaller odds of catching large D. dentex by spearfishing, possibly explaining why posting videos with particularly large specimen triggered larger social engagement by recreational spearfishers. Our case study demonstrates that data mining on YouTube can be a powerful tool to provide complementary data on controversial and data-poor aspects of recreational fisheries.
One role of Marine Protected Areas is to protect biodiversity; however, illegal fishing activity can reduce the effectiveness of protection. Quantifying illegal fishing effort within no-take MPAs is difficult and the impacts of illegal fishing on biodiversity are poorly understood. To provide an assessment of illegal fishing activity, a surveillance camera was deployed at the Seal Rocks no-take area within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park from April 2017-March 2018. To assess impacts of illegal fishing activity in the no-take area, Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVs) were used to quantify abundance and size of snapper Chrysophrys auratusfrom 2011–2017. BRUVs were also deployed at two nearby fished locations and two other no-take areas to allow comparison. Over 12 months of camera surveillance, a total of 108 recreational vessels were observed illegally fishing within the no-take area (avg 9.0 ± 0.9 per month). The greatest number of vessels detected in a single month was 14 and the longest a vessel was observed fishing was ~ 6 hours. From 2011–2017, the abundance of C. auratuswithin the Seal Rocks no-take area significantly declined by 55%, whilst the abundance within the other fished areas and no-take areas did not significantly decline over the same period. Lengths of C. auratus in the Seal Rocks no-take area were significantly smaller in 2017 compared to 2013 which was driven by a decline in the number of legal sized fish over 30 cm. Based on mean number of illegal fishers per vessel recorded in the no-take area, and an allowable bag limit of 10 C. auratus per person, it is possible that more than 2,000 C. auratusare removed annually from this no-take area. There is a strong likelihood that illegal recreational fishing is causing a reduction on a fishery targeted species within a no-take MPA and measures need to be implemented to reduce the ongoing illegal fishing pressure.
Over the past decades, the nature of the management of marine fisheries in Galicia (NW Spain) has changed substantially. In addition to a powerful commercial fleet and high fisheries dependence of coastal communities, Galicia has a long and strong tradition in marine recreational fisheries, with 60 000 fishers and 4000 boats engaged in this activity in coastal waters. This paper analyses, for the first time, key changes in the management framework of marine recreational fisheries in Galicia by investigating past and current regulations and research initiatives developed so far. Three periods in the management of marine recreational fisheries (1963–1982; 1983–2000; and 2001-present) have been identified. The results show that the management of marine recreational fishing (MRF) moved from a poorly regulated and de facto open access system under the rule of the Spanish administration in the 1980's to a current highly regulated fishery under regional, national and European Union (EU) governments. EU regulations are being fundamental to promote the ecological and socioeconomic sustainability of MRF. However, the lack of scientific data, with only eight papers about MRF in Galicia published in international referred journals, the absence of experts in the field working in the fisheries administration and in research centers, and the lack of strong fishers' organizations are jeopardizing the sustainability of this complex socioecological system in the long term. The development of a strategic plan for MRF in Galicia is needed, including a diagnosis of its current status in relation to other sectors sharing coastal ecosystems, like commercial fisheries, and tourism. Co-management initiatives and adaptive policies favoring both the development of commercial fisheries and the promotion of MRF-based economies to offer new opportunities to local communities are encouraged.
Recreational fishing activity has recovered in the Nerbioi estuary (Northern Spain), after water sanitation and environmental improvement. Recreational fishing is important for the local population; therefore, future management measures that could cause changes in the estuary should also consider the impacts on recreational fishing. Our objective was to analyze the effects that future management decisions and unexpected environmental changes, alone or in combination with climate change effects, can produce in recreational fishing in Nerbioi. The current recreational fishing activity was modelled using a System Dynamics Modelling (SDM). Based on those results, seven future scenarios were simulated. Results suggested that the adoption of future management measures to improve the environmental conditions could lead to additional positive changes for recreational fishing, as after water quality improvement, fish stocks will continue to recover, and these better conditions could attract more fishers and increase their satisfaction. Simulation of temporary and unexpected environmental changes resulted in quick estuarine recovery, without dramatic consequences for recreational fishing. In conclusion, analysing future scenarios on cultural ecosystem services such as recreational fishing, using SDM, can produce valuable information for decision making processes, facilitating the selection between environmental management alternatives.
The effective management of fish populations requires understanding of both the biology of the species being managed and the behavior of the humans who harvest those species. For many marine fisheries, recreational harvests represent a significant portion of the total fishing mortality. For such fisheries, therefore, a model that captures the dynamics of angler choices and the fish population would be a valuable tool for fisheries management. In this study, we provide such a model, focusing on red drum and spotted seatrout, which are the two of the main recreational fishing targets in the Gulf of Mexico. The biological models are in the form of vector autoregressive models. The anglers’ decision model takes the discrete choice approach, in which anglers first decide whether to go fishing and then determine the location to fish based on the distance and expected catch of two species of fish if they decide to go fishing. The coupled model predicts that, under the level of fluctuation in the abundance of the two species experienced in the past 35 years, the number of trips that might be taken by anglers fluctuates moderately. This fluctuation is magnified as the cost of travel decreases because the anglers can travel long distance to seek better fishing conditions. On the other hand, as the cost of travel increases, their preference to fish in nearby areas increases regardless of the expected catch in other locations and variation in the trips taken declines. The model demonstrates the importance of incorporating anglers’ decision processes in understanding the changes in a fishing effort level. Although the model in this study still has a room for further improvement, it can be used for more effective management of fish and potentially other populations.
This study represents the first nationwide assessment of marine recreational fishing in Spain. A new cost-effective approach was used to collect fisher’s information: an online application adapted to different platforms was kept operative from February 2016 to February 2017. Commercial and non-commercial dissemination campaigns represented substantial differences in their success rate and cost-effectiveness. In this study, fisher’s population size, profile and fishing activity were analysed for shore fishing, boat fishing and spearfishing independently in each of Spain’s Autonomous Communities (AC). The official recreational fishing population according to the license registries reported by the AC is of 871,533 fishers, but this study reveals that around 5% of fishers are unlicensed. The most popular modality was shore fishing (83.6% to 67% of recreational fishers) followed by boat-fishing (11% and 31%) and spearfishing (1.2% to 4.9%). The mean age varied significantly between modalities: 36 years for spearfishing, 41 years for shore fishing and 45 years for boat fishing. The education level of spear-fishers and boat-fishers were both higher than that of shore-fishers, which had the highest levels of unemployment. Fisher satisfaction levels of the activity and the catch were high for every modality and AC. Interestingly, a 94% of our respondents declared that their catch was for household consumption. Catch rates differed significantly between fishing modalities: shore fishing had the lowest catch rates (1.17 kg d−1s.e. 0.028), followed by spearfishing (2.02 kg d−1 s.e. 0.044) and boat fishing (2.91 kg d−1s.e. 0.78). Estimates of annual fishing days (shore fishing 60.6 d y−1 s.e. 0.67; boat fishing 57.1 d y−1 s.e. 0.092; spearfishing 51.5 d y−1 s.e. 0.71) did not differ from those of previously published studies using onsite surveys in the same regions, despite the fact that our sample could be potentially over-representing avid fishers. The implications of misestimating annual effort and its importance on MRF impact are also discussed.
This paper extends criminological interpretations of risky facilities to focus on how illegal fishing is concentrated in a small number of places in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia. Testing the applicability of the general hypothesis of risky facilities – that crime is highly concentrated among certain people, places and things – the results demonstrate that the spatial distribution of poaching in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park reflects previous environmental criminology studies which show that crime is concentrated in a small number of places. Poaching risk increases in no-take zones which share a number of homogenous characteristics that also attract legitimate routine activity. Our findings lend support to the emerging environmental criminology literature which examines wildlife crime through the lens of opportunity. Such an approach provides conservation practitioners with an established framework for developing prevention-based compliance management strategies in marine protected areas.
Compliance with spatial fishing regulations (e.g., marine protected areas, fishing closures) is one of the most important, yet rarely measured, determinants of ecological recovery. We used aerial observations of recreational fishing events from creel surveys before, during, and after 77 Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) were established in British Columbia, Canada. There was no evidence of a change in fishing effort in 83% of the RCAs, and effort in five RCAs increased after establishment. Fishing effort in open areas adjacent to the RCAs declined with time and was higher than effort in the RCAs in all 3 years. Next, we used compliance data for 105 RCAs around Vancouver Island to model the drivers of compliance. Compliance was related to the level of fishing effort around the RCA, the size and perimeter-to-area ratio of RCAs, proximity to fishing lodges, and the level of enforcement. Noncompliance in RCAs may be hampering their effectiveness and impeding rockfish recovery. Education and enforcement efforts to reduce fishing effort inside protected areas are critical to the recovery of depleted fish stocks.
Marine recreational fishing (MRF) benefits individuals and economies, but can also impact fish stocks and associated ecosystems. Fish are an important resource providing direct economic benefit through commercial and recreational exploitation, and more esoteric ecosystem services. It is important to consider recreational fishing in marine spatial planning, but spatial information on coastal utilisation for MRF is frequently lacking. Public sources of local knowledge were reviewed and the frequency of unique references to sites extracted. Sites were georeferenced using a gazetteer compiled from the Ordnance Survey and United Kingdom Hydrographic Office named sea features gazetteer and local knowledge sources. Recreational fishing site densities were calculated across 2700 km of coastline and this proxy indicator of coastal utilisation validated against two independent surveys using permutative Monte Carlo sampling to control for sparse and non-independent data. Site density had fair agreement with independent surveys, but standardization by shore length reduced this agreement. Applying a 3 by 3 box filter convolution to the spatial layers improved the agreement between local knowledge derived predictions of activity and those of directed surveys, and permutation testing showed that agreement did not arise as a result of the convolution itself. High and low activity areas were more accurately predicted than areas of intermediate activity. Site density derived from heterogeneous participant and local knowledge can produce qualitative predictions of where recreational fishers fish, and applying a convolution can improve the predictive power of data so derived. However, this approach will be subject to unquantifiable bias and may fail to identify areas highly valued by marine recreational fishers. Thus it should be used in conjunction with other information in decision making and may be best suited to inform the early stage sampling design of on-site surveys or to complement other data sets in mapping areas of importance to recreational fishers.
European policy-makers are increasingly aware of the ecological and socioeconomic relevance of marine recreational fisheries(MRF), but there are still gaps in the information needed to achieve sustainable management. How is the current management of European MRF performed? Is it promoting the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF)? The management of MRF in Europe was reviewed by analyzing how different European regulations align with the EAF in different geographic and administrative scales. Text mining tools were used to identify key concepts and analyze the text of legal regulations on MRF in the European Union (EU), Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK). Also, the Ecosystem Fisheries Legal Assessment (EFLA) framework was used to assess the alignment of the regulations with the EAF. The number of regulations about MRF in Spain and Portugal is higher than in the UK and the EU, probably because the relative higher importance of regional regulations in Spain and Portugal, and the limitations imposed to recreational fishers in marine protected areas (MPAs). The lack of specific regulations on MRF in the EU, and open-access in the UK for recreational fishers, except for Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, explain their lower number of regulations. The EFLA framework showed that the European public policies on MRF follow the EAF principles. Enough attention is payed to ecological components, but socio-economic sustainability could be improved. However, policy efficiency could be lower than expected because potential institutional misfits derived from the eventual confluence of different spatial scales.