It’s estimated that somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 recreational sea anglers visit Norway from abroad to fish each year.
Cheap travel, the decline in the quality of fishing elsewhere and regular stories from Norway in the angling press has helped the country to become one of the go-to destinations for anglers looking for excitement and World class fishing.
This was the situation for Scotland too at one time until mismanagement, greed and political ineptitude allowed one of Europe’s premier sea angling destinations to be reduced to the third division.
No one can say for sure how much these anglers contribute in total to the Norwegian economy but a quick calculation easily puts this at billions of Norwegian Kroner, or hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Tour operators, angling ‘lodges’ and a whole infrastructure has developed to service incoming anglers.
But – from the 2009 study by Radford et al we can say:
- Sea angling delivers around £150 million/yr to the Scottish economy
- Sea angling tourism accounts for 82% of all sea angling spend or approx £123 million/yr in Scotland.
Unlike the Scottish Government whose recognition of the economic value of angling hasn’t so far extended as far as doing anything major to help develop it, the Norwegian government recognises the immense contribution angling tourism makes to the national economy and particularly to local coastal communities.
There‘s a delicate balance that needs to be struck to ensure that Norway doesn’t kill the goose laying its golden egg either through the quality of fishing decreasing or restrictions on angling tourism; however, managing fish stocks to include angling based on the better return to the economy that it generates would need a paradigm shift in fisheries management policy, something which if past experience is anything to go by would be greatly opposed by many in the commercial sectors.