Recreational marine fisheries have traditionally been thought of as insignificant in scale, localised in impact and economically unimportant. The largely diffuse nature of the activity can conceal its size and significance just as the fishing port emphasises that of the commercial sector. Indeed in many cases management authorities have regarded recreational fishing as being beyond their remit.
From an economic viewpoint, the value of recreational fishing needs to be determined in a form that is comparable with the value of commercial fishing at any time when the economic impact of management measures is being debated. At another level, determination of the value of the components of a fishery may well soon become an influence in determining who pays for the cost of management.
The social benefit derived from the provision of quality leisure activities is now well understood. The provision of abundant large bass would increase angling tourism and boost the coastal economy.
Wherever full economic impact assessments of sport angling have been made around the world ( USA, Ireland, and even the UK) the results have shown the recreational value to be much more significant than previously thought, typically 5 times greater than the value of the commercial fishery.
As a general statement, fish stocks are in severe trouble globally and as the situation worsens there are increasing calls for some truly fresh thinking. The authors of these proposals do not for a moment suggest that this approach is a panacea for all European fish stocks, but the potential to derive maximum sustainable economic and social benefits from managing specific marine stocks has been well and truly proven.