Recreational fishing is a popular activity in aquatic ecosystems around the globe using a variety of gears including rod and line and to a lesser extent handlines, spears, bow and arrow, traps and nets. Similar to the propensity to engage in voluntary catch-and-release, the propensity to harvest fishes strongly varies among cultures, locations, species and fisheries. There is a misconception that because recreational fishing happens during non-work (i.e. leisure) time, the nutritional motivation is negligible; therefore, the role of recreational fishing in supporting nutrition (and thus food security) at regional, national or global scales is underappreciated. We consider the factors that influence whether fish will be harvested or released by examining the motives that underlie recreational fishing. Next, we provide an overview of the magnitude and role of recreational fishing harvest in supporting nutrition using regional case-studies. Then, we address issues such as contaminants and parasites that constrain the ability of fish harvested by recreational fishers to be consumed. Although recreational fishing is foremost a leisure activity, the harvest of fish for personal consumption by recreational fishers has contributed and will continue to contribute to human nutrition by providing an accessible, affordable and generally highly sustainable food source, notwithstanding concerns about food safety and possibly overfishing. Attempts to better quantify the role of fish harvested by recreational fishers and the relative contribution to overall food security and personal nutrition will provide resource managers and policymakers the information needed to guide management activities and policy development.

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Keywords angling, contaminants, harvest, nutrition, subsistence
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Journal Fish and Fisheries
Cooke, S.J, Twardek, W.M. (William M.), Lennox, R.J. (Robert J.), Zolderdo, A.J. (Aaron J.), Bower, S.D. (Shannon D.), Gutowsky, L.F.G. (Lee F.G.), … Beard, D. (Douglas). (2018). The nexus of fun and nutrition: Recreational fishing is also about food. Fish and Fisheries, 19(2), 201–224. doi:10.1111/faf.12246