While most attention is focused on the impact of large scale commercial fishing, a new study led by Florida State University biologist Felicia Colema on US recreational fishing revealed that they account for for some 23% of the total catch of over-fished populations in 2002.
"The conventional wisdom is that recreational fishing is a small proportion of the total take, so it is largely overlooked," said Coleman. "But if you remove pollock and menhaden -- two strictly commercially caught species that account for over half of all landings -- the recreational take rises to 10 percent nationally. If you focus on fish identified by the federal government as species of concern, it rises to 23 percent." FSU press release.
The numbers of recreational fishermen has increased by 20% in the past ten years and there are now "over 10 million saltwater recreational anglers" in the US.
It will be interesting to do a study on recreational fishing in this region and check on their impact on fish population as well. I suspect we might get similar figures due to growing affluence and an increase in tourism in the region.
"Ocean Fish Feeling Effects of Recreational Anglers." Scientific American: Science News, 27 Aug 2004 reporting on Coleman, F. C., W. F. Figueira , J. S. Ueland & L. B. Crowder, 2004. The Impact of U. S. Recreational Fisheries on Marine Fish Populations. Science, 26 Aug 2004.