The economic value of recreational fisheries in Nordic countries
Recreational fishing, whether free or at cost, has an economic value. This value was measured in five Nordic countries based on a contingent valuation mail survey. Regression models were used to identify demographic characteristics, types of fishing patterns and differences in the countries’ management regimes that can explain both actual fishing expenditure and willingness to pay for the non-market benefits by persons participating in fishing or enjoying the benefits derived by it. Net benefit, i.e. willingness to pay over and above actual expenditure was highest amongst those fishing. In Denmark, the small number of generalist fishermen get the highest benefit. In Finland results are mixed but sports fishermen benefit on average even more than generalists. Urban sports fishing raises the highest benefit in Iceland while in Norway the benefit is more equally spread, with occasional anglers and women reaping the least. In Sweden the mean benefit is the lowest in the Nordic countries but evenly distributed among categories of fishermen. In the Nordic countries combined, nationality explains willingness to pay as being Norwegian or Finnish increases benefit and being Icelandic reduces it. The non-use value of recreational fisheries was elicited through posing questions on willingness to pay for the preservation of the existence of current fish stocks and current quality of recreational fishing to persons participating in fishing or enjoying the benefits derived from it. For those not fishing or people in general, the power of the models to explain willingness to pay for the existence of recreational fisheries was very weak. The benefit, i.e. willingness to pay, is higher if somebody in the household fishes. Educated, young, urban, well-off citizens also put value on the non-use of the resource.