Fishing for sustainability
Funded by: Uppsala University through the advisory board for Campus Gotland
Time period: 2019-2022 (will be extended due to the pandemic by at least one year)
About the project
Fisheries-related tourism is a mechanism for job creation, as a support for promoting sustainable use of fish stocks and appreciation of fishers and fishing communities. Fishing identity, where fishing activity contributes to an individual’s sense of self, affects local levels of support for fishing-based conservation. Development of fishing-based enterprises that understand and actively incorporate fishing identity into their business model can serve a variety of important roles. Good relationships between businesses and fishers can help extend the tourism season by offering locals a variety of unique opportunities outside the typical tourist seasons, and playing a role in resolving tensions or conflicts among stakeholders by providing a forum for communication. Conversely, if managed unsustainably, such endeavors could foster additional sources of tension among local communities, tourists and businesses, and contribute to additional pressure on sensitive species and ecosystems. Recreational fishing on Gotland offers an excellent case study for this topic.
On Gotland, fishing identity is a complex composition of historical fishing activity, generational participation in various forms of fishing, attachment to the Baltic Sea and to freshwater resources, perspectives on fisheries sustainability, and relationships to other types of fishing. For example, tensions already occur between individuals on Gotland who identify as net fishers and individuals who identify as catch and release anglers (using rod and reel), despite both activities falling under the broad definition of recreational fishing. In order to understand the role fishing identity plays in supporting or restricting fishing tourism on Gotland, we first need to understand the identity itself.
Project leader: Patrik Rönnbäck (Department of Earth Sciences)