Economic Study

This project is completed

The government’s full report is available here with an Executive Summary here.

In September 2006 representatives of SSACN and the SFSA met with government officials to highlight the fact that the sea angling experience and the stocks of the species it relies on, had reached an all time low due to being consistently over-looked when fisheries management, tourism and coastal developments were being considered.

Officials responded that very little was known about the scale of sea angling, its distribution across Scotland, or the economic impact of sea anglers’ expenditure, and that such was needed before any direction could be determined.

The Scottish Government sought to rectify this by commissioning an assessment (late 2007 to Glasgow Caledonian University) of sea angling and its contribution to employment and income both in Scotland as a whole and its regions. The broad aims of the study were to:

  • Estimate the economic impact of sea angling,
  • Identify the:
    • Important local sea angling centres;
    • Main competing areas within and outwith Scotland;
    • Principal characteristics of the sea angling sector;
    • key trends and;
  • Consider future prospects for the sector.

Throughout 2008 SSACN supported the project by :

  • Having a presence on the Steering Group
  • Contributing to the design of an on-line questionnaire
  • Publicizing it on the SSACN website and
  • Increasing awareness by emailing all Members and many other contacts.

Given the paucity of secondary data, extensive primary data needed to be collected from sea anglers and other stakeholders, the following broad strategy was developed by the research body :

  • Sea angling questions were incorporated into a Scottish omnibus telephone survey. They were designed to reveal :
    • The sea angling participation rate regionally and nationally
    • Information on the characteristics of anglers
    • Unbiased estimates of the :
      • Total number of days anglers devote to sea angling,
      • Proportion of sea angling undertaken in their own region and
      • Distribution of angler fishing effort across shore, private boat and charter boat.
  • In total, the sea angling questions were presented to 15,037 Scottish individuals.
  • An angler survey was used to identify:
    • The distribution of visits across the eight regions;
    • angler expenditure per day;
    • species fished;
    • specific locations used;
    • angler opinions and trends in fishing activity.
  • An internet questionnaire was authored, piloted, amended and loaded to a Glasgow Caledonian University server. Awareness of the questionnaire’s URL among sea anglers was facilitated through press coverage and the distribution of thirty five thousand postcards to tackle shops, angling clubs and charter boat proprietors and other providers of angling services.
  • A Stakeholder Survey. Discussions were held with key personnel within the wider sea angling community - encompassing anglers, tackle shop owners, charter boat operators, sea angling officials, hoteliers, boat suppliers and repairers, owners of caravan and campsites.
  • On-Site Surveys were used to provide insight into juvenile expenditure and activity levels.
  • With respect to case study areas, less precise estimates of the economic contribution of sea angling were developed using a top down approach based on interviews with suppliers of angling services. Many of these also provided input to the stakeholder survey.

The report was released on 29th July 2009 at a meeting in the Clashwhannan in Drummore, Dumfries and Galloway where Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, met with representatives of the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN), local politicians and business leaders.

Launching the report, the Cabinet Secretary confirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to exploring the best way forward for the sport through the creation of a RSA Strategy Group and expected SSACN to play a key part in that.