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Recreatieve zeevisserij in België anno 2018 - Feiten en cijfers
Verleye, T.; Dauwe, S.; van Winsen, F.; Torreele, E. (2019). Recreatieve zeevisserij in België anno 2018 - Feiten en cijfers. VLIZ Beleidsinformerende Nota's, 2019_002. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-920-4372-6. 86 pp.
Part of: VLIZ Beleidsinformerende Nota's. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 2295-7464, more
Related to:
Verleye, T.; Vanelslander, B.; Dauwe, S.; Torreele, E. (2020). Recreatieve zeevisserij in België anno 2019 - Feiten en cijfers. VLIZ Beleidsinformerende Nota's, 2020_008. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 9789464206036. 32 pp., more
Recreatieve zeevisserij in België anno 2018 - Feiten en cijfers

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Document type: Annual report


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    Until very recently, recreational sea fishing was a blind spot in European and national fisheries policy. In Belgium, the sector has no landing obligation and is not subject to a licensing system, therefore, no information on the size of the sector, the landing data and the socioeconomic importance was available. In 2015, monitoring of recreational sea fishing activity was officially included in the national Programme of Measures to implement the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. An obligation to collect biological data on recreational fish catches was also imposed at European level in the same year. In recent years, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) have developed a tailor-made methodology that provides a scientifically based answer to the above-mentioned knowledge gaps. This method mainly focuses on field observations and active participation from the recreational sea fishing community, in which transparent communication and mutual trust form the key values. The size of the recreational sea fishing community is estimated at around 2,900 individuals, 57% of whom are boat anglers. Two-thirds of the community lives in the province of West Flanders, while 7% of them live in Brussels or Wallonia. The average age is 56 years. The direct economic interest of the Belgian recreational sea fishing community is estimated at minimum €8.6 million annually. The indirect and induced economic value has not yet been determined, but it is expected that this will raise the economic importance of the sector above €10 million on an annual basis. Recreational sea fishing in Belgium is diverse in nature. Seven different techniques are distinguished within the framework of this study: (1) boat angling, (2) boat trawling, (3) angling from a dam/jetty, (4) angling from the beach/breakwater, (5) wading using a small shrimp net, (6) passive beach fishing and (7) horseback shrimp fishing. The spatial occurrence of these activities was mapped in detail by means of aerial observations. At sea, the activities of the more than 800 vessels, most of which are angling boats (87%), appear to take place mainly within the first three nautical miles. These vessels make about 11,900 fishing trips per year. The total number of fishing hours (at person level) is estimated at over 128,000 hours for boat anglers and almost 24,000 hours for boat trawlers. From the coast, anglers fish for over 42,000 hours from a dam/jetty, while beach anglers fish over 39,000 hours per year. The waders and horseback fishers fish almost 19,000 and 4,000 hours respectively, while passive beach anglers fish over 3,100 days (or more than 74,000 hours). In 2018, Belgian recreational sea fishers caught more than 1.5 million fish, 48% of which were kept, accounting for 169 tonnes. In addition, 102 tonnes of brown shrimps were landed, representing a total recreational catch of around 271 tonnes in 2018. The limited discards of fish that exceeds the minimum catch size (with the exception of sea bass) points to a recreational fishing practice focusing on personal consumption rather than catch & release. In terms of landing volume, the most important species are brown shrimp (38%), whiting (20%), dab (14%), sole (8%), cod (7%) and mackerel (4%). The strictly European regulated sea bass takes the tenth place with a share of 1%. With 141 tonnes landed, boat anglers account for more than half of the marine products landed, followed by boat trawlers (67 tonnes), waders (36 tonnes), anglers from a dam/jetty (17 tonnes), beach anglers (7 tonnes) and passive beach fishing (2 tonnes). This means that recreational sea fishing accounts for 3.7% of the total landings (commercial + recreational) from the Belgian part of the North Sea. The recreational share varies between the species, ranging from <1% for red gurnard, plaice and turbot to 16% for mackerel and 19% for whiting. The share of brown shrimp is estimated at almost 7%. About 3% of the 2018 catch reports include catches in foreign waters. The main foreign destinations are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Norway. The species composition of catches varies greatly between countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, the fisheries focus mainly on sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii), while in Norway the focus is entirely on cod. Furthermore, the catch & release principle appears to be more widelyimplemented in fishing activities abroad, such as in Norway.

  • Belgian recreational fisheries monitoring, more

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