Through this three-year project, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), in collaboration with NINA, Akvaplan-niva, NMBU, Nordland Research, and international partners, developed methods to quantify catches and increase knowledge about socio-economic aspects of marine recreational fishing (MRF)in Norway. We have tested common on-site and off-site survey methods for MRF applied internationally. MRF in Norway consists of two main components:(1) Recreational sea fishing performed by residents, and (2) tourist fishing where foreign or Norwegian tourists fish from a fish camp, cottage, or other residence away from home. It is challenging to survey Norwegian the MRF since fishing takes place anywhere along the coast, all year long, and with different fishing gears. In addition, there is no register of recreational fishers, with the exception of lobster fishing. With regard to tourist fishing, the Directorate of Fisheries has established a register of fishing tourist companies that covers the majority of organized tourist fishing. To characterize MRF, a national phone survey was conducted by Opinion Research for this project. A stratified random sample of almost 40,000 residents (16 years +) from the National Population Registry was called. In total, around 7,500 persons were interviewed, and around 300 active fishers reported their catches in diaries over 12 months. In addition, we conducted field surveys by boat quarterly over 12 months to map MRF in Troms, Hordaland, and the Oslofjord. More than 1,000 persons were interviewed in the field. We also conducted a national web survey of residents recruited in the telephone and field surveys to gain data on the socio-economic dimensions of MRF in Norway. In addition, we performed a sample survey of tourist fishing in Troms and Hordaland based on the tourist business registry, as well as a national survey of the lobster fishery, based on the mandatory enrollment registry. Our surveys show that tourist fishers staying in registered tourist fishing businesses in Troms and Hordaland account for around half the rod and line catches in MRF. In the Oslofjord, there is little tourist fishing compared to recreational fishing by residents of Norway. The study also shows that recreational fishing by residents represent a substantial fishing effort with standing gears, such as gillnets and traps, particularly in Hordaland and the Oslofjord. Foreign fishing tourists are not allowed to use fixed gear. In northern Norway, the catches by tourist fishers and permanent residents who fished from boats with hand-held gear were dominated by cod and saithe, while mackerel and saithe dominate the catches in southern Norway. A large proportion of the catch in MRF is released, but the release rates vary with species. We estimated that rod and line fishing from boat can account for landings of around 2,000 tonnes of cod in Troms alone. Catchtes with fixed gears such as gillnets, pots, and longline, come in addition. In Troms, 252 tonnes of cod were delivered by recreational fishers to official landing facilities in 2019. Our results suggest that the annual cod quota of 7,000 tonnes set aside for leisure, youth - and tourist fishing north of 62? does not cover the total catch in these segments. Our surveys confirm that MRF is a popular outdoors leisure activity in Norway. The fishers are very diverse in terms of interests, skills and choice of fishing methods. More women participate in MFR than in other forms of recreational fishing in Norway (salmon fishing, etc.). MRF also attracts many people who are permanent residents in Norway, but who are born elsewhere. MRF represent a number of benefits to those participating, primarily from nature experience, relaxation and socializing with family and friends, but also catch-related aspects such as food supply, preservation of fishing- and food traditions and excitement. Our research shows that recreational fishers generally have little knowledge of current regulations, such as minimum sizes for species such as cod and sea trout. Most people who fish along the coast of southern and eastern Norway are concerned about the situation for coastal cod, and a majority of these are positive about the regulations for cod protection that the authorities have introduced in the Oslo Fjord. Fishermen's lack of knowledge of current rules for recreational fishing is a significant challenge that the fisheries authorities must take seriously when introducing new regulations. The project has contributed to increased knowledge about MRF in Norway, and it provides a basis for establishing a regime for time series of catches in MRF. Such knowledge and future monitoring are important for a sustainable management of resources. The project also fills some knowledge-gaps about the socio-economic dimensions of MRF in Norway. This is important because the activity represents important ecosystem services and contributes to value creation and employment in rural areas.
Dette tverrfaglige prosjektet har bidratt til økt kunnskap om MRF i Norge, og gir grunnlag for å etablere fremtidige tidsserier på fangster tatt i MRF. Slik kunnskap og framtidig kartlegging er viktig for en bærekraftig forvaltning av ressursene. Resultatene fra prosjektet fyller også en del kunnskapshull om de sosioøkonomiske dimensjonene ved MRF i Norge. Dette er viktig fordi aktiviteten representerer viktige økosystemtjenester og bidrar til verdiskaping og sysselsetting i distriktene.
The marine recreational fisheries (MRF) in Norway are an important part of the blue economy, creating jobs all over Norway, but may threaten the sustainability of coastal fish stocks. Norwegian MRF are poorly studied and there is an urgent need for science-based knowledge. Resource managers presently lack information to evaluate MRF' (including tourist fisheries) economic importance and impact on fish stocks relative to other potentially conflicting coastal activities such as commercial fisheries and aquaculture. We aim to provide knowledge about the extent and development of MRF in Norway (domestic and foreign fishers), as well as of the cultural and provisioning ecosystem services provided by the sector. The Norwegian MRF are open access and do not require a fishing license, and there is neither a comprehensive registry database of recreational fishers nor a complete registry of recreational boats available. The Norwegian telephone registry provides excellent coverage of the domestic population (age 16 and older) and will be used as sampling frame for a telephone-diary survey to characterize this segment of MRF, but will not cover non-resident fishers. On-site surveys will be required for non-resident marine recreational fishers and to collect biological data. This is challenging because MRF are widely spread out in time and space and the heterogeneous population of fishers cannot be representatively sampled (and intercepted in person) from a finite list of access-points along the coast. We will develop a framework for a cost-effective probability-based survey sampling approach that can minimize biases and provide robust national estimates of recreational effort, catches, and the ecosystem services provided from MRF in Norway. This will include innovative statistical methods that combine complementary probabilistic survey methods. The project aims to provide guidelines of sampling efforts to reliably quantify and characterize Norway's diverse and extensive MRF.