Economic, social and ecological attributes of marine recreational fisheries in Galicia, Spain

Pablo Pita, Kieran Hyder, Pedro Gomes, Cristina Pita, Mafalda Rangel, Pedro Veiga, José Vingada, Sebastián Villasante

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40 Citations (Scopus)


There are growing concerns about the impact of Marine Recreational Fishing (MRF) on marine ecosystems and its combined effects with other human activities, such as commercial fishing, especially on the higher trophic levels. Conversely, recreational fishers provide considerable economic benefits through their expenditure on many things including fishing tackle, boats, licenses, travel, and accommodation. However, research on MRF in Europe is limited, particularly in Southern countries. In Galicia (Northwest Spain) detailed information on MRF is still needed to support management and to reduce growing conflicts between recreational fishers and other stakeholders including the commercial fishing sector. This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of MRF in Galicia including the economic, social, and ecological impacts, from a survey of 363 recreational fishers. It was estimated that there are 60 000 recreational fishers, comprised of 45 000 shore anglers, 12 000 boat anglers and 3000 spear fishers. Each year, they spend 86 €M on fishing gear and other expenses, while boat owners spend another 11 €M. Fishers’ activity is higher in summer and spring, especially in the case of boat anglers. Recreational fishers reported catching 38 species, but the most common were ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta), European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), and white seabream (Diplodus sargus). Annual recreational catch is about 7 500 t (5–13% of commercial and recreational landings of the same species); shore anglers are responsible for 50% of total MRF catches, boat anglers for 40%, and spear fishers for 10%. The results are discussed in the context of management that could improve the socio-ecological sustainability of MRF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-69
Number of pages12
JournalFisheries Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Data collection
  • Fisheries management
  • Galicia (Northwest Spain)
  • Marine recreational fisheries
  • Social-ecological impacts

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