Recreational fisheries have high economic worth, valued at US$190 billion globally. An important, but underappreciated, secondary value of recreational catch is its role as a source of food. This contribution is poorly understood due to difficulty in estimating recreational harvest at spatial scales beyond a single system, as traditionally estimated from individual creel surveys. Here, we address this gap using 28‐year creel surveys of ~300 Wisconsin inland lakes. We develop a statistical model of recreational harvest for individual lakes and then scale‐up to unsurveyed lakes (3,769 lakes; 73% of statewide lake surface area). We generate a statewide estimate of recreational lake harvest of ~4,200 metric tons and an estimated annual angler consumption rate of ~1.1 kg, nearly equal to the total estimated United States per capita freshwater fish consumption. An important ecosystem service, recreational harvest makes significant contributions to human diets and plays an often‐unheralded role in food security.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Fishing for food: Quantifying recreational fisheries harvest in Wisconsin lakes|
|Series title||Fisheries Magazine|
|Contributing office(s)||National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|