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Inland recreational fisheries contribute nutritional benefits and economic value but are vulnerable to climate change


Inland recreational fishing is primarily considered a leisure-driven activity in freshwaters, yet its harvest can contribute to food systems. Here we estimate that the harvest from inland recreational fishing equates to just over one-tenth of all reported inland fisheries catch globally. The estimated total consumptive use value of inland recreational fish destined for human consumption may reach US$9.95 billion annually. We identify Austria, Canada, Germany and Slovakia as countries above the third quantile for nutrition, economic value and climate vulnerability. These results have important implications for populations dependent on inland recreational fishing for food. Our findings can inform climate adaptation planning for inland recreational fisheries, particularly those not currently managed as food fisheries.

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Fig. 1: Inland recreational fisher consumption rate by country.
Fig. 2: Methods for examining the importance of consumed inland recreational fish.
Fig. 3: Nutritional benefits, economic value and climate vulnerability of inland recreational fisheries.
Fig. 4: Nutritional contribution, economic contribution and climate vulnerability of recreationally consumed inland fish by country.

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Data availability

The raw and formatted datasets and accompanying metadata for the species-specific inland recreational fisheries harvest estimates for consumption as well as the nutrition, economic value and climate vulnerability data are freely available to the public, supported by the US Geological Survey National Climate Adaptation Science Center ( (ref. 40) and (ref. 15), respectively). The Aquatic Foods Composition Database is freely available ( (ref. 41)), and the GND is available upon request. The data to support the currency conversions used in this study are available from Bloomberg. Restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for this study. Data are available with the permission of Bloomberg ( Climate change data from Nyboer et al.20 are available through the Open Science Framework (


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We thank data providers for their generosity with their time in contributing to this research and the InFish network ( for assistance in connecting us with appropriate data providers. In addition to the contributors detailed in Embke et al.14, the following contacts provided additional data: O. Badunenko, M. Bavinck, S. Berg, I. Chatziantoniou, C. Chen, A. Froschauer, K. Gorski, Ø. Hermansen, F. I. Nworie, E. Karimov, T. Marković, A. Martinovska-Stojcheska, J. M. Q. Montiel, N. Novakov, A. Novoa, C. Rodriguez Da Costa Doria, R. Sagitova, P. Shipkov and A. Stenfors. We thank S. Sethi (Brooklyn College) for conducting an internal review of this paper for the US Geological Survey. This work received no dedicated funding. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



A.J.L., A.T., T.D.B., C.B., S.J.C., I.G.C. and O.L.F.W. jointly conceptualized the project. A.J.L., H.S.E., E.A.N., L.E.W., A.T., S.C.P., D.F.V., C.D.G., M.M. and A.M.R. assembled and analysed the data. All authors, with the exception of O.L.F.W., discussed the results and implications and commented on the paper at all stages.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Abigail J. Lynch.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Food thanks Kieran Hyder, M. Aaron MacNeil and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 Univariate maps of analyzed metrics.

Univariate maps showing: A - total consumption (kg per fisher); B - total consumptive use value (TCUV in USD) per recreational fisher as a share of 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) per capita; C - climate vulnerability (summed, weighted by proportions of species consumption (using scenario Representative Concentration Pathway [RCP]4.5, 2075 projection) and D - average nutritional contribution.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Relative contribution of micronutrients from recreational inland fish.

Comparison of the contribution of recreational inland fish to micronutrients (A - calcium, B - omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid [DHA + EPA], C - iron, D - protein, E - vitamin B12 [Vit B12], and F - zinc) as a proportion (%) of estimated national-level average per capita consumption from aquatic foods.

Extended Data Fig. 3 Prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intake.

Prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intake across all assessed nutrients and countries based on previously published study (Golden et al.4). Prevalence of inadequate intake was calculated using the summary exposure values, which estimates the population-level risk related to diets by comparing intake distributions with average requirements. Estimated prevalence of inadequate intake ranges from 0% (no risk) to full population-level risk (100%).

Extended Data Fig. 4 Total consumptive use value.

Comparison of A - total consumptive use value (TCUV in USD), B - TCUV per recreational inland fisher, C - TCUV per fisher corrected for gross domestic product (GDP), and D - TCUV per fisher corrected for GDP per capita corrected for purchasing power parity (PPP).

Extended Data Fig. 5 Climate vulnerability of consumed inland recreational fish.

Comparison of climate vulnerability of consumed inland recreational fish (weighted by proportion consumed) across four vulnerability scenarios (A - Representative Concentration Pathway [RCP]4.5, 2030; B - RCP8.5, 2030; C - RCP4.5 2075; D - RCP8.5, 2075).

Extended Data Table 1 Nutritional contribution, economic contribution, and climate vulnerability of recreationally consumed inland fish by country
Extended Data Table 2 Climate vulnerability species scores

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Lynch, A.J., Embke, H.S., Nyboer, E.A. et al. Inland recreational fisheries contribute nutritional benefits and economic value but are vulnerable to climate change. Nat Food 5, 433–443 (2024).

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