Economic expenditures by recreational anglers in a recovering Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery

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The recent return of Atlantic bluefin tuna to northern Europe following the recovery of the east Atlantic stock has sparked substantial public and scientific interest. This is particularly true for recreational anglers in Denmark, who often consider Atlantic bluefin tuna to be the catch of a lifetime. This attitude has previously sustained a substantial recreational fishery for bluefin tuna with annual tournaments in Denmark, which peaked in the 1950s before the subsequent collapse of the stock during the 1960s. Several scientific tagging programs have recruited recreational anglers in recent years to help catch and release tagged bluefin tuna. The anglers’ investment of time and money in the scientific tagging projects indicate that the recreational fishery could recover in the future. However, the economic aspects of a potential future recreational bluefin tuna fishery remain unknown. We surveyed anglers participating in a scientific catch and release bluefin tuna fishery in Denmark across three years (2018–2020) and calculated the total annual expenditures associated with the activities. Additionally, we estimated the magnitude of the negative impact (i.e., incidental mortalities) on the bluefin tuna stock. Our results show that total annual expenditures by the recreational anglers approached 1,439,540€, totaling 4,318,620€ between 2018 and 2020. We found that recreational bluefin tuna anglers had mean annual expenditures directly related to the bluefin tuna fishing between 7,047€ and 2,176€ with an associated mortality impact on the stock of less than 1 tonne annually. By comparing the mortality impact to the expenditures, we estimate that each dead Atlantic bluefin tuna during the three study years generated 398,163€ in mean annual expenditures, equivalent to approximately 1636€ kg-1. Our study demonstrates significant economic expenditures among recreational anglers who target Atlantic bluefin tuna. This provides a clear example of how a recovery of marine natural capital and related ecosystem services can support development in the blue economy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0271823
Issue number8
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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