Recreational fishing is a leisure activity. When commercial fisheries catch fish for selling it, recreational fishermen catch and either release it or eat it within the family or network of friends.
Angling (this is, recreational fishing with rod and line) constitutes a high-value and sustainable touristic activity in coastal regions that contributes to the diversification of the income of the coastal communities. Angling tourists are either anglers travelling with the main or sole purpose of going angling, or a tourist or a person on a trip spending some time on angling but not as the main purpose for the stay. Anglers spend money locally on, for example, tackle, hotel, restaurant, boat and equipment rentals, charter boats and fishing guides and more. Angling tourism also provides non-marketed social benefits to the anglers like relaxation, exercise and experience of nature.
When a dedicated angler plans his/her vacation, the fishing possibilities often will be a decisive factor for his/her choice of destination. Often a whole family’s vacation destination will be decided by fishing opportunities if just one member of the family is a dedicated angler. In that case destinations, which can offer good fishing and other interesting experiences for the non-fishing members of the family will be preferred.
Recreational angling tourism has a big development potential in most countries either as an add-on to existing tourism products or on its own.
Fisheries-related tourism can be split into two main components:
1) – Commercial fishing related tourism, and
2) – recreational fishing related tourism,
Commercial fishing related tourism is also named “pesca-tourism” in some regions. The term “pesca-tourism” is not consistently defined across Europe but can be said to cover: “activities conducted by commercial fishermen using their own fishing vessels.” Tourists are paying for a trip on the fishing vessel to see and/or take part in its fishing activities with various kinds of fishing gear (nets, lines..). The catch may be sold by the vessel owner.
Recreational fishing related tourism can be sub-divided in many ways but for clarity we suggest these two categories:
a) Recreational tourism fishing from a boat (charter boat or hired boat), and
b) non-boat marine and freshwater recreational tourism fishing
-Charter boat fishing (angling):
The fishing boat used for this purpose can be a commercial fishing vessel - used for this business part time and commercial fishing the rest of the time – or a full time charter boat. The skipper takes on board anglers (rod and line fishers) against payment. The catch is the anglers’ catch and cannot be sold.
-Hired boat fishing: A small boat rented by one or more anglers. No skipper is needed. The angler(s) sail the boat.
Charter boat angling and angling from hired boats can take place in both marine and freshwaters.
Non-boat recreational angling tourism can take place anywhere where fish are available: At sea from the beaches, cliffs or piers; in rivers and lakes and dedicated fishing ponds.