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History of Conference
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History of Conference

The History of the World Recreational Fishing Conference (WRFC) Series

Genesis of the WRFC Series

The initiation of the WRFC series was somewhat serendipitous, beginning essentially as a regional conference conceptualized at a May 1994 consultation of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC), a Regional Fishery Body of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. During this meeting, the management strategies for European inland fisheries and aquaculture for the 21st century were discussed. The consultation recognized the importance of recreational fishing and it was decided that a symposium be held in conjunction with the nineteenth session in Dublin Ireland (June 1996) of EIFAC, focusing on the social, economic and management aspects of recreational fisheries. Many consider this conference as the beginner of the World Recreational Fishing Conference series, but there are alternative viewpoints claiming that a meeting in Cap d’Agde, France, September 12 to 18, 1984 was actually the first global recreational fisheries conference [Stroud, R.H. (ed.) 1985]. World Angling Resources and Challenges, Proceedings of the First World Angling Conference, International Game Fish Association. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 390 p.)

Each successive WRFC conference was built on its immediate predecessor, establishing a collective body of knowledge available through various peer reviewed books and conference reports published through established scientific publishers, fostering communication among the world-wide recreational fishing community. Since the early stages, WRFCs have provided a platform for researchers, managers, NGOs, associated industries and government regulators to identify issues and work toward action and resolution. However, the focus has always been on unifying high quality research outputs on the emerging field of recreational fisheries science. There is no other international conference offering the possibility to focus on recreational fisheries and to join and overcome disciplinary and bureaucratic divides. The WRFC is a must conference for all those working on recreational fisheries issues in academia, management and industry, with a clear focus on the academic component to represent the scientific conference focus of such conferences. There has been a steady increase in quality of papers presented, with cutting edge research and management results being presented and discussed in a lively, rigorous and constructive atmosphere.


Synopsis of the WRFC’s


 Number 6, the Humbolt-University, Berlin, Germany August 01 – 04, 2011

The 6th WRFC was organized by the Humboldt University in Berlin, IGB Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology abd Inland Fisheries, the German Anglers Association, Besatzfisch in cooperation with the Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humbolt University Berlin. BVA, Pure Fishing, Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Shimano were the golden sponsors; IGFA, ZEBCO Europe, European Fishing Trade Association, European Anglers Alliance and Sports Professionals shared the silver sponsorship; and Jensi-fishing performance and Smith-Root Europe Ltd, the bronze sponsors. Theme: Toward Resilient Recreational Fisheries. Keynote speakers: John R. Post, Brad Gentner, Stephen G. Sutton and Len M. Hunt (joint lecture) and Zeb S. Hogan. Theme Sessions: Stock, stocking and the future of recreational fisheries; Change, Adaptation and evolution in recreational fisheries; Space, place and recreational fisheries. 11 sub-themes encompassed the contributed sessions. Workshop: Communication and collaboration between science and management in recreational fisheries.

The event had a record attendance of 290 delegates from 33 countries who presented 130 talks and 57 posters.


Number 5, Fort Lauderdale, Florida November 10 – 13, 2008

22 countries and over 150 oral papers and posters were represented at the 5th WRFC entitled The Angler in the Environment at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum at Dania Beach, Florida, USA. It was a deemed highly successful event. It was the first time the WRFC has been held in the United States. The proceedings have been published in a peer-reviewed book through the American Fisheries Society.


Number 4, Trondheim, Norway, June 12 – 16, 2005

The conference, titled Fishing Is Life – Building Partnership Across Boundaries, targeted everyone dealing with recreational fishing: researchers, recreational fishing NGOs, managers and administrators, tourism and recreational fishing gear businesses. The following sub themes were identified: Trends in recreational fishing across the world: Trends and changes in recreational fisheries and angling tourism across continents and countries attract and recruit young generations, women and new user groups to angling and trends in competitive fishing; Resource management challenges: Sport, commercial and subsistence fishing allocation decision making in the face of scarcity; worldwide decline in major fish stocks – how it affects recreational fisheries, management and cultivation strategies; can we learn across species and continents?; recreational fishing as a source of overfishing; aquatic protected areas: panacea or new management tool?; and, catch and release. Development challenges: Angling tourism and rural development; ways to finance recreational fisheries management and enhancement – private or public responsibility?; the role of fishing tourism in developing countries and among indigenous people; building partnerships between science, business, management and NGOs; and, public opinions against recreational fishing – what is it and how to address it? Approximately 200 participants from 25 countries participated in the conference. A book representing the major output from the 4th World Recreational Fishing Conference was published by Blackwell Science by Aas (2008) (ed) Global Challenges in Recreational Fisheries. Go to http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/book.asp?ref=9781405156578.


Number 3, Darwin, Australia, May 21 – 24, 2002

The Conference, titled Regional Experiences for Global Solutions, was a forum for members of the recreational fishing community including researchers, managers, policy makers, industry representatives and the angling public to discuss issues relevant to the sustainable development of recreational fishing through the new millennium. Themes for the conference were: Ecologically Sustainable Development and Ecological Approaches to Management; Research Methodologies; The Values of Recreational Fishing; Management of Recreational Fishing; Development Issues; and, Recreational and Traditional Fishing. The proceedings were published as a CD Rom only entitled: Regional Experience for Global Solutions, The Proceedings for The 3rd World Recreational Fishing Conference, 21–24 May 2002, Northern Territory, Australia by Coleman, APM (ed.). Fisheries Report 67. Fisheries Group, Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development, Darwin, NT. This publication is available from: Fisheries Group, Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development, GPO Box 990, Darwin, NT, Australia. The conference had 196 attendees representing 12 countries.


Number 2, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, June 1 – 4, 1999

The title of the conference, Evaluating the Benefits of Recreational Fisheries, had three aims, to: enumerate and evaluate the benefits of recreational fisheries; identify and focus on desirable economic social and ecological features, and; make the case for full recognition of sport fisheries as an important sector in the world’s fishing industry. At the conference, four Keynote and 32 contributed papers were presented, of which 22 were submitted for editing and publication. The conference had 63 participants from eight countries (the total number of attendees was not noted). The proceedings of the conference were published in the grey literature as Pitcher & Hollingworth (1999): Evaluating the Benefits of Recreational Fisheries, (Fisheries Center Research Reports, 1999, Volume 7, Number 2, ISSN 1198-6727, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia), available in pdf format: http://www.fisheries.ubc.ca/publications/reports/7-2.pdf. A peer-reviewed publication was later published by Pitcher & Hollingworth (2002) as Recreational Fisheries: Economic, Ecological and Social Evaluation by Blackwell Scientific Publishing http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/contents.asp?ref=9780632063918&site=1.


Number 1, Dublin, Ireland June 11 – 14, 1996

A symposium on social, economic and management aspects of recreational fisheries was convened in conjunction with the nineteenth session of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (ElFAC), which was held in Dublin, Ireland, from 11 to 14 June 1996. The symposium was attended by 119 participants from 23 countries. The proceedings of the plenary and workshop sessions form the basis of the peer reviewed publication by Hickley and Tompkins (1998) in the Fishing News Books Series by Blackwell Science entitled Recreational Fisheries: Social, Economic and Management Aspects, available from Blackwell Scientific Publishers http://www.blackwell-synergy.com.

© 2011 WRFC

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