Recreational fishing in developed countries is clearly
relevant. For certain species, the total recreational catch has been
estimated to be at least similar to those from artisanal (small scale)
commercial fishing. At the Balearic Islands, recreational fishing is an
increasing activity and currently involves thousands of practitioners.
Conversely, commercial fishing is declining. Economic revenues from the
recreational fishery are probably larger than those from artisanal
fishery. The effects of recreational fishing on fish are clear. Fish
populations from sites submitted to high recreational fishing pressure
display the same "syndrome" as those populations subjected to intense
commercial fishing, which is characterized by smaller sizes, younger
fish, sexual maturity at earlier ages, different growth pattern, and
changes in species composition. Some of the methods developed to assess
commercial fisheries are fully applicable to recreational fishing, but
with some key differences. First, for commercial fisheries, some
institutional control of catches is exerted. For example, temporal
series of catches are usually available. Second, recreational fishers
are not motivated by economical issues and, thus, they are not affected
by the marked fish rules. This implies, for example, that
between-fisher variability in catches is huge and total catches become
very hard to estimate. Some of the methods that are currently under
development at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA)
for assessing recreational fishing and its effects will be described.
These methods include estimating fish fitness from asymmetry, estimating
fishing effort from censuses, and estimating fish movement.
Dr. Palmer received a Ph.D. in Biology from Balearic Island University in Spain. He joined the Ichthyology group at IMEDEA (Mallorca, Spain) in 2004 and received a tenured post at the National Public Research Council (CSIC) in 2006. His main research interest is coastal recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands Sea.
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