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Report, 2023

Interactions between fisheries and tourism in the Nordic countries

Waldo, Staffan; Aanesen, Margrethe; Ahi, Ceren; Andersson, Anna; Blomquist, Johan; Lankia, Tuija; Nielsen, Max; Nielsen, Rasmus; Pokki, Heidi


Tourism is one of the world’s major economic sectors. Destinations worldwide largely
compete for the same tourists, and it is of crucial importance to offer popular
attractions and activities. In this regard, the global tourism market is divided into a
number of segments. Examples are cultural tourism where visiting famous ancient
sites is the main attraction, tourism directed towards physical activities like climbing
and hiking, and of course marine tourism offering swimming and sunbathing. In this
report, the focus is on tourist destinations in the Nordic countries that attract
visitors through some kind of fishing related activities. This could be either
destinations providing recreational fishing opportunities or coastal villages with a
genuine fishing atmosphere provided by commercial fisheries. The report contains
case studies from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
The Swedish and Danish case studies analyse if commercial fisheries attract tourists
to local fishing communities. If such a relation can be proved, it provides managers
with an argument for supporting local fisheries in tourist harbours since too few
vessels might harm the tourism sector. The conclusion from the Swedish case study
is that harbours with high commercial fishing activity also have high tourism activity
measured as restaurant turnover. The relation is strongest on the Swedish west
coast, which is a major tourism area that also has a strong fishing industry
employing a major part of the Swedish commercial fishers. However, it is not
possible to establish a causal relationship proving that fisheries attract tourists. In
the Danish case study, on the other hand, it is shown that more fishing activity by
commercial fisheries leads to more overnight stays in Danish coastal areas. The
effect is found for three of six investigated measures of fishing activity: the number
of vessels landing in a coastal area, the number of vessels with home harbour in a
coastal area, and the landing value of fish for human consumption.
The Finnish case study focuses on recreational fishing for salmon in the River Teno.
The results emphasize the importance of the salmon stock in attracting fishing
tourists. The amount of salmon caught on the most recent trip had a positive effect
on the total number of visits. Further, tourists who find fishing services such as
access to boats, guides, or a well-functioning fishing permit system particularly
important made more trips to Teno than others. The services for fishing tourists
could be further developed by combining accommodation and fishing services in the
same market places instead of the tourist having to seek services from several
service providers.
The Norwegian case study focuses on tourists who visited Lofoten during
2020–2021. Lofoten has both a famous recreational fishery and a large commercial
fishery for cod. The main conclusion from a survey among the tourists is that they
would be willing to pay more for a visit to Lofoten if it included the opportunity to
visit a seafood market, and even more if it also gave the opportunity to participate
in a seafood festival. Additional recreational catches and additional commercial
fishing vessels are less valued.
The results highlight the role of site-specific development of tourism. Different
tourists value different attributes, where some tourists want pristine nature and
high recreational catches and others favour developed services and a local
commercial fishing culture. The Nordic countries might be able to attract more
tourists by adapting tourist destinations to the respective countries’ competitive
advantages where for example the role of nature, catch rates, closeness to major
travel hubs, restaurants, traditional fishing vessels in the harbour, etc. could play
important roles in future development.

Published in

2023, number: 2023-518
eISBN: 978-92-893-7595-5
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers