The ICES Working Group on Recreational Fisheries Surveys (WGRFS) role is to summarise and quality assure recreational fishery data collected in European countries, and feed into the ICES advisory process on recreational fishing issues. In 2019, WGRFS shared and evaluated current national surveys; assessed the validity of new survey designs; assessed the use of survey data in stock assessments and the impact of catch and release; discussed the treatment of outliers in the analysis of survey data; reviewed the potential impacts of climate change on species distribution and updated the species list for collection under the Data Collection Framework (Regulation ((EC) No 2017/1004)); reviewed European and regional coordination; assessed data storage op-tions; assessed novel survey methods; and discussed the ICES Workshop on Integrating Human Dimensions into the Management of Marine Recreational Fisheries (WKHDR).
WGRFS provides a useful network for individuals developing surveys to test their ideas and designs that will increase the quality of data delivered. WGRFS has engaged with the Regional Coordination Groups, providing input into meetings and support for issues around recreational fisheries. The profile of the group has been raised through scientific presentations at conferences, and contribution to the development of a theme set in the ICES Journal of Marine Sciences titled “Marine recreational fisheries - current state and future opportunities”. Over the last year, the members of the group have published several publications facilitated by the WGRFS including an assessment of the impacts of recreational fishing on key European fish stocks, a review on the potential environmental impacts of recreational fisheries on stocks and ecosystems, and a review on digital camera monitoring of recreational fishing effort.
At the 2019 meeting, further progress was made in key areas. Updates were provided on national sampling programmes, with surveys underway in almost all countries, and the most recent estimates collated. The design and implementation phase of the Galician (Spain), Swedish, and Danish programmes were assessed using the WGRFS quality assurance tool. The need for novel ap-proaches for inclusion of recreational data in stock assessment for a broader range of stocks was highlighted, and approaches for catch allocations were discussed. Furthermore, the potential impacts of climate change on species caught by recreational fisheries and how that could impact on species lists for collection under the DCF was assessed. Approaches for European and regional coordination of data collection were discussed. Novel methods for data collection were highlighted, and need to be reviewed regularly as the landscape is changing very quickly.
Intersessional work was agreed on: analysis and inclusion of data in stock assessments; compiling methods for catch allocation between user groups; and updating the quality assessment tool. The WGRFS recommendations were: developing a database that compiles estimates of recreational fisheries catches; to include recreational fisheries in more stock assessments and advice; that further work on the impacts of catch and release should be funded; and a workshop to review the impact of recreational fisheries based on the outcomes from EU-MAP pilot studies.