(External) Sea Angling Diary Continues into 2021

Making Your Catch Count: Sea angling in the UK – be part of it!

Ever wanted to know how many people fish and what is caught in the sea? New research led by the Centre for Environment, fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and Substance has been released today, based on one of the biggest citizen science projects in fishing. The report provides estimates of the numbers of sea anglers, participation rates, and catches across the UK in 2018 and 2019 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sea-angling-in-the-uk-report-2018-and-2019).

This ongoing study is a very large citizen science project, where over 2,000 sea anglers from across the UK volunteered to provide data on their fishing trip locations and catches each year. Using a unique, free mobile app and online tool each individual diarist records their activity and demonstrates the importance that sea anglers place in supporting the conservation of fish stocks. Data collected is used by scientists to inform advice for the sustainable management of the UK’s fisheries.

In the study, which is open for new participants online (www.seaangling.org), diarists recorded over 8,500 fishing sessions and catches of over 70,000 fish of around 100 different species, making it a huge citizen science data collection exercise to reveal more about angling habits and catches.

In addition, 12,000 UK residents were surveyed, helping to develop a detailed picture of the UK’s sea angling profile. This was combined with the data reported by sea anglers to estimate the numbers and tonnage of many different fish species retained and released each year.

This valuable information is being used to shape policy decisions to support sustainable fisheries and ensure the economic and recreational importance of sea angling is considered.

The findings showed:

  • Between 551,000 and 758,000 of UK adults had been sea angling in each year, fishing for a total of around 6 million days each year.
  • Estimates of numbers caught were produced for around 55 species and tonnages for about 40 species. This resulted in total catches of 46 and 43 million fish.
  • The vast majority of fish were released – around 80% of all catches, demonstrating that conservation is becoming more of a feature of sea angling.
  • Catch composition was similar between years with mackerel, whiting, lesser spotted dogfish, and sea bass caught most commonly.
  • Catches were slightly lower than 2016-17 using the same survey approach, although release rates and catch composition were similar.
  • Analysis included two approaches to assess the robustness of the survey and this work is continuing with 2020 data as we speak.

Kieran Hyder, Project Lead from Cefas, said: “When combined with data from 2016-17, we are starting to build a time series that will help to understand changes in participation, catches, and expenditure over time, and the ecological, social, and economic impacts that it generates over time. These data will provide a treasure trove of information to help to understand sea angling in the UK, and ensure that the needs of sea anglers are considered in marine policy and management”.

You Can Sign Up

The Sea Angling Diary Project is continuing in 2021 and it is open to anyone who fishes in the sea in the UK to join. Sea anglers get a free mobile app, catch recording kit, and online dashboard and reports of their activity. Anglers can sign up at www.seaangling.org.