Recreational fishing is a popular outdoor leisure activity in Europe but the actual impact on the targeted stocks is often unknown. Besides angling, marine recreational fishing in Denmark is practiced using passive gear, such as gill- and fykenets. A list of participants is updated continuously, as all recreational fishermen have to purchase a personal non-transferable and time limited national license before fishing. However, this list will not include those fishing illegally without a license. Therefore, two types of recall surveys with their own questionnaires and group of respondents were carried out. The first survey - the license list survey
– was carried out once in 2009 and twice in 2010. This survey had a sampling frame corresponding to the list of persons that had purchased a license within the last 12 months. Respondents were asked to provide detailed information on catch and effort per ICES area and quarter. In order to also estimate the fraction of fishermen that fished without a valid license, a second survey, called – the Omnibus survey
-, was carried out four times. This survey targeted the entire Danish population between 16 and 74 of age.
In this talk we present the estimated harvest of the two commercial important species cod Gadus morhua and eel Anguilla anguilla together with data on the sea migrating brown trout Salmo trutta trutta. The latter is the primary target species for most anglers and is subject to repeated conflicts between anglers and passive gear fishermen, even though the actual catches in the two recreational fishing types have never been estimated. For all three species, large variation in catches between areas and seasons was found, and in some cases the recreational harvest of cod and eel were comparable to the commercial landings. The inclusion of the harvest taken by fishermen without a valid license (estimated from the Omnibus surveys) added a further 20% to the recreational catches, thus having a significant impact on the total harvest.