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Build your catch: British sea fishing is part of it




Have you ever wanted to know how many people fish and what is caught in the sea? A new study, led by the Center for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and Substance, is released today and builds on one of the largest citizen science projects in the fishery. This report provides estimates for the number of sea anglers across the UK, participation rates and catches for 2018 and 2019.

This ongoing study is a large-scale citizen science project that volunteers over 2,000 sea anglers across the UK to provide data on fishing trip locations and catches each year. Using a unique free mobile app and online tool, each diary writer records their activities and demonstrates the importance of sea anglers in supporting fish conservation. The data collected is used by scientists to provide advice for the sustainable management of UK fisheries.

In the study, published online for new participants (, the diary writer recorded more than 8,500 fishing sessions and more than 70,000 catches of about 100 different species. Fishing habits and catch.

We also surveyed 12,000 UK residents to help build a detailed picture of the UK’s sea fishing profile. This was combined with data reported by sea anglers to estimate the number and tonnage of various fish stocks and releases each year.

This valuable information is used to support sustainable fishing and make policy decisions to consider the economic and recreational importance of sea fishing.


Between 551,000 and 758,000 British adults fished each year at sea, for a total of 6 million days per year. It was estimated that the catch was about 55 species and the tonnage was about 40 species. As a result, a total of 46 million and 43 million were caught. The majority of fish, about 80% of the total catch, were released, indicating that protection is becoming a hallmark of sea fishing. The catch composition was similar between the years with the highest catches of mackerel, termite, small spotted dogfish, and perch. Catches were slightly lower than in 2016-17 using the same survey approach, but release rates and catch composition were similar. The analysis involved two approaches to assess the robustness of the survey, and this work continues with the 2020 data we speak of.

Kieran Hyder, Project Manager at Cefas, said:

Combined with 2016-17 data, we are starting to build time series that will help us understand changes in engagement, catch and spending over time and their ecological, social and economic impacts over time. This data will provide a report of information that will help us understand the UK’s sea fishing and take into account the needs of sea anglers in maritime policy and management.

Adam Brown, research director at Substance, said:

We cannot thank dieters enough for their dedication and support that would not have been possible without this approach. Make a significant contribution to the sustainable management of marine fisheries using apps and tools developed by the Substances technical team.

you can join

The Sea Angling Diary Project continues in 2021 and anyone who fishes in British waters can participate. Sea anglers get a free mobile app, fishing log kit, online dashboard and activity reports. Anglers can register at

more information

Sea fishing is a popular activity in the UK with social and economic benefits and catches can be substantial. To support informed decisions and sustainable management of fisheries, governments and stakeholders need data on engagement, catch and economic value of sea fishing.

To obtain these estimates, we combined the results of two separate survey methods. 1. A survey of 12,000 UK residents was used to estimate the number of people who went recreational sea fishing and the dates of fishing from shore or various types of fishing. boat. 2. A panel of sea anglers across the country kept a diary of their activities, catches, and expenses over the years. Volunteer anglers were provided with a free mobile app and online tool to record their activities. Data was provided by approximately 1,000 anglers catching 122,000 fish in 11,000 sessions over two years.

Results from these two surveys were combined to estimate total UK catch after adjusting for differences in fishing frequency (vigor), age, and fishing type (coast, boat) between the weather sample and the UK sea fishing population.

The study was led by the Center for Environmental, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) in collaboration with research and technology company Substance. – Northern Ireland Food and Life Sciences Institute (afbi) supported by the European Marine Fisheries Fund (EMFF). It meets UK legal requirements to provide estimates of sea fishing catches based on charter boat catches under the Data Collection Framework and Control Regulations for Common Fishing Policies.

This project was supported by many parts of the sea fishing community, including the Scottish Sea Anglers Association, the Welsh Sea Anglers Association, the Irish Sea Anglers Association, the Fishing Trade Association and Supported by Fishing Megastore.

Thanks to thousands of individual sea anglers who have contributed to the Diary program since 2016, we have provided data and participated in extensive research during this period.

For more information, please contact Kieran Hyder at [email protected] and Adam Brown at [email protected]




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