On my global travels I can vouch for the importance of Fishing Tourism in both poor areas, and rich retreats of the rich and famous. It's a great way to meet new people and learn from the locals.
Sitting next to an Arab one day on the banks of the Mediterranean I felt a little out of place with a bag full of tackle, and three expensive rods. My neighbor had a long pole, a length of line, and a home made hook. There was another significant difference, he caught a bucket full of fish and I lost half a dozen lures, hooks and associated hardware. In what differentiates fishing from many other sports my neighbor went over to another Arab fisherman, and brought back a spare pole, then showed me how to cast and catch fish. My catch caused the now swelling group of locals immense mirth and entertainment. For the pure entertainment and instructional value of the morning I left the group a reel of monofilament line, assorted hooks and weights. They were very appreciative of my gifts and even though none of us spoke any language the other could understand we communicated just fine.
Another example was between Cairns and Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia. The beauty of the azure blue water both from the small freshwater river, and the waves breaking on the white beach was a fisherman's delight. A number of locals were really interested in me and watched with interest for a while. Eventually an older gentleman cautiously edged towards me and whispered, "There's a 16 foot Croc in there that took a dog last week, and a woman last month." It's surprising how quickly you can retrieve the baited hook and move.
Experience like these have been repeated again and again on every ocean around the world.
The lure and enjoyment of fishing is often ignored by Resort and Hotel Managers around the world, for not everyone wants to water ski, or battle a Giant Marlin. In the United States alone there are 43,000,000 Anglers, or Sports Fishermen, often looking for a quiet moment away from the chaos of modern day life. The number of Tournaments is growing around the world, often featured on ESPN, and sometimes with million dollar prizes.
Fishing Tourism is a business, and can contribute a significant amount to any resort or hotel on the banks of a lake, river or sea. Think about it and give me a call.
Next Generation Fishing Tourists
Over the past ten years there has been a slight decline in the growth of Fishing Tourism, which is hardly surprising considering the average tourism marketing campaign. What happens in the future depends on the marketing of tourism based on, or around fishing, and the trends of tourism in general.
The global and national outlook is in rapid flux as the cost of fuel both reduces the number of expensive boat trips, yet increases the number of visitors to take advantage of fishing from the shore. The high cost of fuel also makes families consider more local vacations, against long trips to Theme Parks or more exotic resorts.
The promotion of Fishing Tourism is in the capabilities of poorer regions, rich in natural resources, and with a partnership with environmental organizations in areas where industry destroyed the landscape. Fishing Tourism is an under appreciated field that brings together families, and gives a better understanding of the environment around us. It also relieves stress, and gives the opportunity of tranquil trout streams, to thrashing Sharks offshore.
The growing importance of Tournament Fishing brings a huge influx of paying fishermen and their audience to any community, especially for televised events. In general fishermen, especially when TV Cameras are around spend many times more than bird watchers! The economic impact of a big money event can't be trivialized.
Keep the Attractions Clean and Safe
One of the most damaging trends over the last century has been the total devastation by developers and government agencies of the nursery areas for spawning and raising young fish, and pollution of pristine areas that draw fishermen and visitors. Some of the worst I have encountered are in the State of Florida, where unregulated, greedy Urban Sprawl developers have destroyed tens of thousands of acres of shallow wetlands to build even more speculative time shares, golf courses and shopping malls, many which were begun and never completed. In the process they drain and fill in the wetlands, and kill all the food and larvae that are essential for the Marine Food Chain.
Not content with burying the nursery habitat under tons of dredged mud, they create drainage networks to wash the chemicals off the gardens, parking lots and roads directly into the waterways.
My point is not to prevent growth, for everyone wants to live near the sea, but that they are killing the very factors that draw most people to Florida. When the wildlife is all gone the population will go elsewhere to fish and enjoy the once plentiful outdoors.
The Fishing Tourism attraction of Florida is known around the world, from the Bass fishing to the Offshore fighting game fish. But the stocks are diminishing, and the popular fishing spots often need a traffic cop for the crush of ill tempered, and barely competent boaters jostling each other for position. My first visit to Sebastian Inlet was a fishing phenomenon, you could hook a decent catch on virtually every cast. Now you almost need to call ahead for a reservation as the place is packed and lines criss cross each other in a mayhem of chaos.
There needs to be a realization of the importance of Fishing Tourism in the local economy, and that there needs to be protection and assistance in the Nursery areas where the young fish start their life cycle. The fact that there are Mosquito's means that maybe humans should leave a small area for nature, and not devastate the land to grow more sugar we do not need in our diets.
In the months ahead we will explore the successes and failures of Fishing Tourism around the world.
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