Ever wondered how much sea anglers catch and spend?

Today the government has released research delivered by Centre for Environment, fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and Substance which provides estimates of the numbers of sea anglers, participation rates, catches and economic impact across the UK in 2016 and 2017. The full report is available by CLICKING HERE.

Substance has been a core part of the team that has delivered the Sea Angling Diary project, creating and running a unique online tool and now mobile app used to collect and collate data from sea anglers (www.seaangling.org). Since 2016 Substance has recruited thousands of sea anglers to take part and supported them in entering data about their activity. Full details of the first two years work can be found by visiting https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sea-angling-in-the-uk

In 2016/17 more than 1,500 sea anglers were recruited by Substance to keep diaries of what they caught on all their sea angling trips and how much they spent on the sport, using Substance’s Sea Angling Diary online tool.

This data was combined with a separate national survey of 12,000 UK residents.

In summary, the research found that:
  • Around 800,000 or 1.6% of UK adults went sea angling at least once each year, fishing for a total of 7 million days.
  • On average, anglers spent over £1,000 per year on their sport, resulting in a total economic impact of sea angling of between 1.5 and 2 billion pounds.
  • This provided around £350 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) and supported around 15,000 jobs when indirect effects are included.

Adam Brown, Head of Research at Substance said:

“Our diary tool addresses the problem of how you collect data from outdoor sports participants where most of it takes place without organisations, licences or organised events. The Sea Angling Diary app allows people to record what they are doing no matter where they do it.”

“This is undoubtedly one of the largest and most complex citizen science projects that we have undertaken. This has involved engagement with sea anglers on an unprecedented level to provide data which informs the sustainable management of marine fisheries. Our amazing diarists have used our cutting-edge technology to help make it possible.”

Kieran Hyder, Project Lead from Cefas, said:

“This survey provides invaluable information to support the development of sea angling policy and ensure that the needs of sea anglers are taken into account in marine management. The contribution of individual sea anglers to the project has been and continues to be indispensable.”

The Sea Angling Diary

The Sea Angling Diary is still very much live, now entering its 5th year. It is open to anyone who fishes in the UK seas to join which they can do here: www.seaangling.org

Sea Anglers that sign up receive exclusive access to the Sea Angling Diary app enabling at home or on the go data collection, online dashboard reports and photo upload tools to instantly store your catches.

To date, more than 4,000 sea anglers have taken part in the diary catching more than 100 different species of fish in UK seas and recording over 10,000 sessions a year.

Data on participation, catch frequency and economic value of sea angling collected through the diary are valuable to government and stakeholders to support well-informed decisions about sustainable management of fisheries and ensure the economic and recreational importance of sea angling is considered.

To receive your free mobile app, fish ID booklet and online dashboard activity reports. Please sign up at www.seaangling.org.

For further information, please contact Adam Brown (adam.brown@Substance.net) or seaanglingdiary@substance.net

Substance would like to thank those who have helped make this possible: Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers, Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers, Ulster Federation of Sea Anglers, Irish Federation of Sea Anglers, Angling Trades Association, British Sea Fishing, Fishing Megastore and Sea Angler Magazine.


– About Substance – a research and technology company expert in research on the social impacts of sport and recreation. See www.substance.net It has a specialism in research on angling, leading the field in understanding its social impact (www.anglingresearch.org.uk ).

– Substance researched and wrote the National Angling Strategy for England 2019-2024 which was launched by the Chair of the Environment Agency in June 2019

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