Toward sustainable harvest strategies for marine fisheries that include recreational fishing

Ashley M. Fowler, Natalie A. Dowling, Jeremy M. Lyle, Josep Alós, Leif E. Anderson, Steven J. Cooke, Andy J. Danylchuk, Keno Ferter, Heath Folpp, Clifford Hutt, Kieran Hyder, Daniel K. Lew, Michael B. Lowry, Tim P. Lynch, Nicholas Meadows, Estanis Mugerza, Kjell Nedreaas, Domingos Garrone-Neto, Faith A. Ochwada-Doyle, Warren PottsDavid Records, Scott Steinback, Harry V. Strehlow, Sean R. Tracey, Michael D. Travis, Jun-ichi Tsuboi, Jon Helge Vølstad, Rowan C. Chick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Recreational fishing (RF) is a large yet undervalued component of fisheries globally. While progress has been made in monitoring, assessing, and managing the sector in isolation, integration of RF into the management of multi-sector fisheries has been limited, particularly relative to the commercial sector. This marginalises recreational fishers and reduces the likelihood of achieving the sector's objectives and, more broadly, achieving fisheries sustainability. We examined the nature and extent of RF inclusion in harvest strategies (HSs) for marine fisheries across 15 regions in 11 nations to define the gap in inclusion that has developed between sectors. We focused on high-income nations with a high level of RF governance and used a questionnaire to elicit expert knowledge on HSs due to the paucity of published documents. In total, 339 HSs were considered. We found that RF inclusion in HSs was more similar to the small-scale sector (i.e., artisanal, cultural, or subsistence) than the commercial sector, with explicit operational objectives, data collection, performance indicators, reference points, and management controls lacking in many regions. Where specified, RF objectives focused on sustainability, economic value and catch allocation rather than directly relating to the recreational fishing experience. Conflicts with other sectors included competition with the commercial sector for limited resources, highlighting the importance of equitable resource allocation policies alongside HSs. We propose that RF be explicitly incorporated into HSs to ensure fisheries are ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable, and we recommend that fisheries organisations urgently review HSs for marine fisheries with a recreational component to close the harvest strategy gap among sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1019
Number of pages17
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number6
Early online date4 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • fisheries management
  • fishing objectives
  • harvest strategy components
  • multi-sector fisheries
  • recreational experience
  • sectoral equitability

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