IFCA Survey Provides Insights Into Fishing Tourism

matt lethbridge sea fisheries boatMost visitors who go fishing in Scilly do so as part of a regular holiday rather than choosing the islands specifically for their pastime.

That’s the finding of a survey run by Scilly’s Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

They wanted to investigate the role of sea angling as a tourist activity on the islands, and to collect information on the types of fish caught.

The questionnaire was designed by Defra’s Fisheries research lab in Lowestoft and circulated in hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs in Scilly in the summer of 2012.

Of the 73 people who responded, only 3 came to Scilly just to fish. The rest said it was an incidental activity as part of their holiday.

And while they spent £1,500 on average on their holiday, only £18 was spent on fishing, mostly on bait, tackle and boat fares.

Those who fished, mainly caught pollack, mackerel and wrasse and 62% was released back into the water.

There were also a large number of sharks reported and all of these were released.

The IFCA admits this was a small study and it’s difficult to make any firm conclusions.

But the survey didn’t explore the possible market for the activity if there was more promotion.

Last year, St Mary’s-based angler Del Thompson said the islands have huge potential for angling tourism and he was surprised there was just a single line in the Simply Scilly brochure referring to fishing.

Del has his own blog, ‘Scilly Lure Addicts,’ and regularly features in articles in national fishing magazines, talking about the ‘unbelievable’ fishing opportunities in Scilly.

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