Members' Research Service By / June 1, 2016

Marine Fisheries-related Tourism in the EU

Written by Isabelle Gautier, Tourism activities can offer fishermen a good way to diversify their activities. It can be done…

© nadezhda1906 / Fotolia

Written by Isabelle Gautier,

tourist making photo of colorful traditional boats in Malta
© nadezhda1906 / Fotolia

Tourism activities can offer fishermen a good way to diversify their activities. It can be done outside or along with the fisheries seasons all through the year as a potential means of earning additional income.

This economic aspect was taken into consideration in the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) which was used in the past period 2007-2013 through the network FARNET, with the Flags (Fisheries Local Action Groups) putting in place local strategies for improving economic fisheries activities. Under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the programming period 2014-2020 “funding is available in particular for cultural fisheries and maritime cultural heritage. This can cover tourism-related projects, such as eco-tourism, pesca tourism and fishing tourism, local gastronomy (fish and seafood restaurants), accommodation, tourist trails, diving, etc.”, according to the Guide on EU funding for the tourism sector .

Tourism features also in Maritime Affairs, under the Blue Growth policy in the part dedicated to Coastal and maritime tourism . Fishing is included among other activities to be further developed. It is proposed to develop tourism activities to help the economic development of fisheries areas. Recreational fishing can also be included in this kind of tourism.

For the moment, there is no official definition dedicated to fishing tourism. It can cover a large amount of activities, including recreational fishing, excursions in professional fishing vessels; learning about fishing activity and fishing gear; game fishing; discovering the marine environment and its biodiversity.

Pesca tourism is understood to involve professional fishermen welcoming a certain number of tourists on to their boats in a tourism-recreation activity to discover the world of fishing. It can be seen as a complementary activity to a fisherman’s regular activity or it can be seen as a commercial tourist activity in its own right – conducted as a parallel activity to fishing.

This keysource is divided in four parts: overview, analysis, EU programmes, projects and seminars and country examples.


Perspectives for the development of tourism activities related to fishing – In-depth analysis / DG IPOL, Policy Department Structural and Cohesion Policies B, Fisheries, 2014, 42 p.
Diversification of fishing communities in the EU into tourism activities has been successfully achieved in various coastal and marine areas. Fishing tourism, also referred to as pesca-tourism, and other marine and coastal activities related to the “blue economy” provide new sources of income to local families and communities. Investment in infrastructure, including the fishing vessels for fishing tourism as well as related hospitality and harbour upgrades, in capacity building, in differentiating the services offer, and in pro-active marketing and promotional campaigns are some of the key factors in these successful diversification efforts.

Perspectives for the Development of Tourism activities related to fishing / Julio Fuster Bragado, Corporate Solutions S.A. Spain, 19/03/2014, 31 p.
Powerpoint presentation on the subject .

Fisheries and Tourism – Creating benefits for the community / Farnet Guide n° 9, 2014, 52 p.
The guide aims to encourage FLAGs and actors in fisheries areas to develop and support quality tourism projects that bring benefits to the fisheries community, and to provide practical advice on how this can be done. Thus, the structure of the publication corresponds to the tasks that a FLAG has to carry out in order to develop fisheries-related tourism in its area: 1) Linking fisheries with the world of tourism, 2) Supporting quality tourism in fishing areas, 3) Promoting fisheries tourism.

Guide on EU funding 2014-2020 for the Tourism / European Commission, July 2015, 53 p.
See the item VI. European Maritime and Fisheries Fund on p. 24-26 .


Good practices and recommendations for the regional tourism development based on fisheries and aquaculture in the Baltic Sea Region –  Aquafima / Christopher Pavia and Nardine Stybel (EUCC-D), Baltic Sea Region, [2015 ?], 12 p.
In the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), the fishery sector has traditionally been important in terms of employment, social life and regional identity. Study reports and surveys of AQUAFIMA project partners focus on aspects, such as the economic value created by recreational fishing tourism activities, water quality in tourism regions influenced by aquaculture and presentation of aquaculture in aquaria and maritime museums. Main results are presented in this report.

Economic and social analysis of the uses of the coastal and marine water in the Mediterranean / Technical Report, Plan Bleu, September 2014, 133 p.
Tourism and recreational activities on point 3.3 (p. 54-65).
This report on the Mediterranean Sea Economic and Social Analysis (ESA Report) aims to contribute to the Mediterranean Initial Integrated Assessment (IIA) in the context of the progressive implementation of the MAP Ecosystem Approach Initiative EcAp (Step 3), and to complement it with a broader in-depth socioeconomic analysis of key economic activities taking part in or closely related to the Mediterranean marine and coastal environments. Fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and recreational activities, maritime transport and offshore exploitation of oil and gas are analysed at the scale of the Mediterranean basin as well as at a sub-regional level, fitting Mediterranean sub-basins.

Pêche et tourisme: construisons une dynamique . Actes des Journées professionnelles de Rennes, 2ème édition (juin 2014), GIFS,  les publications du Pôle halieutique Agrocampus Ouest n°29, 50 p. (in FR only).
En 2014, les Journées professionnelles de Rennes ont pour thème « Pêche et tourisme : construisons une dynamique ». L’objectif du séminaire est d’estimer les bénéfices économiques directs, indirects et induits de la pêche maritime ainsi que les valeurs non marchandes de la pêche côtière. Il s’agit de créer des synergies entre les secteurs pêche et tourisme, deux acteurs majeurs du littoral français. Ces synergies ne vont pas de soi. Il existe des contraintes, voir des antagonismes. Mais dans le même temps, des synergies existent déjà.

Linking fisheries to the tourism economy / Farnet Magazine, n° 9, Autumn-Winter 2013, 32 p.
“In the 2014-2020 funding period, Community-Led Local Development will have to respond to the major challenge of creating and saving local jobs – especially for young people. In fisheries areas, one way of doing this is to ‘capture’ part of the huge demand for goods and services created by tourism.” As the lead article in this issue of the FARNET Magazine points out, the coast is already the preferred main holiday destination for more than 60% of Europeans. The challenge for many fisheries areas, therefore, at least during the summer season, is not to get more tourism but better tourism.

Study in support of policy measures for maritime and coastal tourism at EU level – Specific contract under FWC MARE/2012/06 – SC D1/2013/01-SI2.648530 / Ecorys and Consortium partners, 2013, 158 p.
The general purpose of this study is to support the preparation of policy measures for maritime and coastal tourism at EU level.
See in particular the paragraphs dedicated to recreational fisheries on pages 71-72.

Green economy in a Blue World / UNEP, 2012, 131 p.
This document is divided in several chapters: greening small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, maritime transport, marine-based renewable energy, ocean nutrient pollution, coastal tourism, metals in the deep.
See the chapter Coastal Tourism on page 94. In particular the pages 100-108 (see the item 2.3 Social challenges and opportunities) and following items.

EU projects and programmes

Macro-economic Impact Assessment of Future Changes in European Marine Ecosystem Services / Francesco Bosello, Elisa Delpiazzo, Fabio Eboli, 2015,
The present research has been developed within the EU FP7 VECTORS project ( The main scope of the project (2011-2015) has been to evaluate, from a multilateral perspective, drivers, pressures and vectors of changes in marine life of three main European seas (Baltic, Western Mediterranean, North), the mechanisms by which they do so and the impacts that they have on ecosystem structures and functioning as well as on economic activities and wellbeing. This paper describes the methodology, data elaboration and main results of a modelling exercise aiming to assess the economic effect of future changes in the EU marine ecosystem in the medium term (2030). We focus on those changes potentially affecting the fishing and the tourism sectors in two different IPCC SRES scenarios, the A2 and B1, varying in the future trends of population, GDP, prices, as well as the overall impact on environment.

Responsible tourism – A guide for tourism and sustainability in Small-scale fisheries and agri-food – Executive summary , A.E.S. Ford, T. Acott, TourFish cluster of the INTERREG IV A 2 Seas, Programme. London: University of Greenwich, 2015, 19 p.
‘Responsible Tourism: a guide for tourism and sustainability in small-scale fisheries and agri-food’ is a product of TourFish, a project funded by the EU INTERREG IVA 2 Seas programme. The aim of TourFish was to explore opportunities for coastal areas through developing responsible tourism that draws together food, small-scale inshore fisheries, regional branding and place-based marketing opportunities. The project involved five partners located in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, who were new to the idea of responsible tourism. The aim of this guide is to explore the theory and practice of responsible tourism, by drawing upon the experiences of the TourFish partners as they engaged with the concept of responsible tourism, combined with current knowledge and thinking surrounding responsible tourism and sustainability.

TourFish Responsible Tourism, Food and Fisheries: New Opportunities for Sustainable Development / 2 Seas Magazine, Interreg IV A, Special Focus, August 2014, 44 p.
To begin to realise the scope of opportunities that bringing together fisheries, food and responsible tourism might bring the TourFish (Tourism for Inshore Fishing, Food and Sustainability) cluster was created. TourFish brings together the expertise and experiences from two INTERREG IVa 2 Seas funded projects, GIFS (Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability) and Fish and Chips, alongside other partners including Sidmouth Trawlers, Nausicaa and Festival L’Homme et la Mer in Guilvinec. A key aim was to demonstrate how the work and experience from all partners could be brought together under the umbrella of responsible tourism to reveal new opportunities in food and fisheries for the sustainable development of communities. A common theme running throughout all the work of TourFish is thinking about how the production, preparation and consumption of food can contribute to new opportunities for sustainable development.

Socio-economic analysis on fisheries related tourism in EUSAIR – Nemo project 1M-MED14-11, WP2, Action 2.3 / Med Maritime Integrated Projects Nemo, 2014, 94 p.
This report presents the results of a study that has applied a common methodological framework in selected locations within three fisheries-dependent maritime regions of the EU and especially within the Adriatic Ionian macro-region: regions of Marche, Emilia Romagna and Apulia (Italy), Split County (Croatia) and regions of Western Greece, Epirus and Ionian islands (Greece).

Fishing Tourism and Priority Axis 4 of the EFF on Sustainable Development of Fisheries Areas / Maremed, pilot action, May 2013, 70 p.
Marche Region has deemed appropriate to develop and carry out two intertwined pilot actions to tackle some issues that may be crucial in improving the state of fishing communities, and more in general in favouring the sustainable development of coastal areas. These pilot actions were focused on Fishing Tourism and on Priority Axis 4 of the EFF (Sustainable Development of Fisheries Areas and Fisheries Local Action Groups-FLAGs). The results of these intertwined pilot actions are presented, analysed and discussed in this report, also highlighting the main criticalities and possible ways of improvement.

Tourism : webpage dedicated to this subject on the website Mednetpesca . It contains examples from different countries dedicated to tourism and fisheries.
Mednetpesca is a project funded by Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) that brings together different actors involved in the development of coastal Mediterranean areas to increase the visibility of fisheries products and heritage around the Mediterranean.

Fisheries related tourism, including pesca-tourism (taking tourists on board active fishing boats) is a niche market which is developing in many coastal areas rich in fishing heritage. Mediterranean fisheries areas are the perfect place to enjoy a day in the life of a fisherman as well as many other marine activities and attractions.

Tourism in the Farnet website : many examples.


The TourFish conference: Hastings, United Kingdom – 23 June 2014
The TourFish conference ran in June 2014. The purpose of the conference was to showcase the work of the TourFish partnership and explore how Responsible Tourism could be used as an approach to further sustainable development in agri-food and fisheries. Stakeholders from across France, Belgium and the Netherlands attended the event and participated in a rich networking opportunity to share ideas and practical experiences. An outline of the conference is presented below alongside links to presentations and videos where available.

2nd edition of the “Journées Professionnelles” in Rennes: “Fishing and tourism: build a dynamic” seminar 4th June 2014 at Agrocampus Ouest (Rennes, France)
The seminar is part of Activity 3 of the GIFS project “Economy and Regeneration in fishing communities”.

FARNET.lab “Linking fisheries to the tourism economy”: Sardinia, Italy – 22-24 October 2013
This seminar was FARNET’s second lab-style event in which participants worked on a very specific theme, in this case – how to link fisheries to the tourism economy. Organised at the initiative of DG Mare and with the support of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, this transnational seminar took place in Sardinia from the 22-24 October 2013.  It brought together over 80 FLAGs from 20 different EU countries, along with members of national and regional authorities responsible for implementing Axis 4, in order to work through the process of supporting fisheries-related tourism.




  • Évaluation d’un modèle économique de pescatourisme / Laurent Balanger, Marie Benceny, Jean-François Bigot, Véronique Le Bihan, AGLIA, PescAtlantique, 2012,  51 p.
    L’étude “Evaluation d’un modèle économique de pescatourisme” identifie les facteurs clés de succès dans le domaine du pescatourisme. Les questions économiques et sociales constituent le coeur de l’analyse. Les problématiques règlementaires et de formation complètent le travail.





  • Marine tourism fisheries – Challenges of governance and governability Northern Norway as a case study / Solstrand, Maria-Victoria Johnsen, Jahn Petter, 2014
    The research focus for this dissertation is marine tourism fisheries – a sector rapidly growing in popularity in Northern Norway. Data from this research study suggest that the ecological impacts may be more significant than previously thought. As such, it is suggested that marine tourism fisheries be considered separately from recreational fishing, and alongside commercial-scale and small-scale fisheries with regard to fish stock impacts and management.
  • Angler behaviour and implications for management ‐ catch‐and‐release among marine angling tourists in Norway / K. Ferter, T. Borch, J. Kolding, J. H. Vølstad, Fisheries Management and Ecology, 2013, Vol.20(2-3), pp.137-147 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
    The role of recreational fisheries in the competition for marine resources is increasingly recognised. Their contribution in stock dynamics needs to be accounted for in assessments and management. Management regulations should be based on scientific advice on human and biological dimensions to be effective in reaching their goals. A survey among marine angling tourists staying in fishing camps in two study areas in Norway was conducted to study catch‐and‐release () behaviour.
  • Probability-based surveying using self-sampling to estimate catch and effort in Norway’s coastal tourist fishery / J. H. Vølstad, K. Korsbrekke, K. H. Nedreaas, [et al.], ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2011, Vol. 68(8), pp.1785-1791 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
    Recreational fishing as a tourist activity has become an increasingly important part of the Norwegian travel industry and may contribute significantly to the fishing mortality on Norwegian coastal cod ( Gadus morhua ). Quantifying catches in the tourist fishery is made difficult by Norway’s intricate and long coastline, and the lack of a fishing licence system, a registry of businesses catering for fishing tourists, and a registry of charter boats. A probability-based survey was used to estimate annual catch and effort by boat for anglers associated with 445 tourist-fishing businesses during 2009. From a stratified random sample of businesses, fishing tourists were recruited systematically over time to record their daily catch and effort in diaries.
  • Effects of Fishing Tourism in a Coastal Municipality: a Case Study from Risør, Norway / Erlend Moksness, Jakob Gjøsæter, Guillaume Lagaillarde [et al.], Ecology and Society, vol. 16, n° 3, 2011.
    Recreational fishing has become an important part of the Norwegian tourist industry. The coastal municipality of Risør, southern Norway, is considering further development of its marine fishing tourism to increase local economic benefits, but they also want to limit negative effects on the local ecosystem and for the inhabitants. We developed an integrated model with ecosystem and socioeconomic components to evaluate these trade-offs.







  • Social impacts of fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, tourism and marine protected areas (MPAs) in marine plan areas in England / Marine Management Organisation, MMO Project No: 1035, December 2013, 192 p.
    This report aims to increase the Marine Management Organisation’s (MMO) understanding of the different aspects of social impacts and value of marine activities. The report also explored the ways in which individuals, communities and businesses adapt to drivers of change and what marine planning can do to support them. The economic and social interactions between fishing, aquaculture, recreation, tourism and marine protected areas and all other activities listed in the Marine Policy Statement (MPS) were reviewed.


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