Hunting and Fishing Tourism

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    Hunting and Fishing Tourism
    by Johannes Bauer and Alexander Herr

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    Download the entire article at View attachment 2788 .

    As road networks and industrial agriculture expand, and people become more affluent, wildlife resources are diminishing, forcing hunters and fishers to travel further for their quarry, whether it is to the next lake or forest, or to the other side of the globe. The increasing urbanisation of society, combined with the extensive range of quarry, has created a demand and supply situation in which various strategies have been pursued to provide clients with their desired experience, and to derive profit for the fishing and hunting industry.

    The main target species for hunting tourism include larger ungulates (mostly cervids and bovids), rodents (rabbits, marmosets), and waterfowl (ducks, geese), but also incorporate carnivorous species such as bears, wolves, foxes, felids (wild felines), mustelids (weasels), and crocodiles. Fishing focuses on a wide range of marine/estuarine fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and a variety of freshwater species in rivers and lakes. Not all hunting/fishing falls under tourism, but much of it incorporates the following defining elements of tourism:
    • Travel to and from a particular destination
    • The presence of a tourism service industry (outfitters, tour guides,
    hunting farms)
    • The exchange of money for services
    • Overnight, to several months, stays at destinations
    • A service industry
    • Aspects of leisure and recreation

    There is a wide range of products available, varying between over US$100,000 for a hunting trip to a few dollars for a fishing license in Australia. How important is the industry worldwide, how many people engage in it and what is the total economic value of the hunting market? We analysed a number of websites, accessed through Google (www.google.com) for parts of this chapter. This was conducted in order to gain at least a coarse measure of tourism-related hunting and fishing activities. If one assumes that particular tourism sectors, including wildlife tourism, are represented equally on the web, and in proportion to the size of the actual industry, then it is possible to gain an understanding of their relative size. Hunting and fishing account for 29 per cent of all the websites connected with tourism (a total of approximately six million hits). In almost one third of cases, the concept of being immersed in nature was associated with hunting or fishing (Figure 4.1).

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    Figure 4.1 Proportion of Google hits (total approx. 6 million hits) in relation to tourism and thedisplayed search terms

    International hunting tourism, as an industry, has developed in the wake of the European expansion. The affluent British gentleman-adventurer, often also a naturalist, travelled to remote places, to explore first-hand the wonders of the tropics, the confronting dangers of a tiger or elephant hunt, the thrill of a safari, or the quiet pastime of the insect collector. It is not surprising that such a person would take home a trophy, such as skins, horns, teeth, dried penises, skulls or tails, in order to verify their adventures. Although, in later years, photographic evidence could have replaced this method of verification, tiger skins and elephant tusks had, by that time, become such an essential part of a residential display that its waste would have been unthinkable. Much of this would have occurred during the 19th Century in Africa and Asia, and thus international trophy hunting was born.

    Trophy hunting was never restricted to the European gentry. In the 1960s, for example, the King of Bhutan, a Buddhist, succumbed to a heart attack while enjoying a hunting-safari in the heart of Africa. In 2003, there is a wide, and increasing, range of potential destinations for hunters and fishers depending on their interests in prey and costs. Hofer et al., (2002) distinguished between the demand and supply countries. There are fishers and hunters in all parts of the world, however there are distinct places where the supply outweighs the demand. It is to these destinations that most fishers and hunters travel.

    Hunting and fishing, including in their tourism form, are important land uses and are a part of the essential cultural heritage for many societies (Bauer and Giles, 2002; Roe et al., 2002; Robinson and Bodmer, 1999; Pearce, 1995). In Europe hunting remains of great cultural significance (Ermala, 1982; Kalchreuter, 1984), as it does in many other parts of the world (eg. Africa and North America), particularly for indigenous people. The hunting language in Germany and Scandinavia forms an essential part of the Germanic cultural heritage; even music has its own hunting history.

    Although not required for subsistence, hunting and fishing for recreation play an important role in the economy of western countries (Kalchreuter, 1984, 1987), and may even bring significant commercial benefits. Recreational hunting is a multi- billion dollar industry in the US and in Europe (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2002; Wiese, 1991). Statistics suggest that in Australia every third person goes fishing, and in the state of New South Wales 27 per cent of estuarine waters are now “free of commercial fishing” (Newsletter from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, January, 2003).

    At present around 6 million wild ungulates are harvested in the northern hemisphere every year, instigated by a complex framework of tradition, commerce, and social values (Bauer and Giles, 2002). In Germany, one of the most industrialised countries in the world, hunting remains an important land use and tradition. The result is a harvest of nearly 1.2 million ungulates, equalling approximately 500,000 tons of venison every year.

    Fishing, more so than hunting, has been an important aspect of the lives of a large part of society. Its origins and pursuit have been much less questioned, and there has been generally little controversy surrounding its practice. Many people holiday on the coast, on islands, or by the riverside so that they can take their fishing rod, hand line, or crab basket. Whilst this may not be an independent industry, it is an essential part of holiday making. The emergence of a more specific and targeted fishing-tourism sector was probably connected to a rise in mobility, an increase in the number of recreational fishers, and the emergence of service providers (such as guides, boat owners, land owners, and resort owners) who could take advantage of the increase in fishers by offering special experiences, locations, and species, and constructing a price for it. We suspect this industry was a response to declining fish resources. The more expensive end of the market, big game fishing, which targets species such as sharks, marlin, and tuna, started as an elite industry in the US but has spread from there to many other countries.

    Hunting and fishing are treated in this chapter as the harvesting of aquatic or terrestrial wild (i.e. not domesticated) animals. By combining hunting and fishing we also want to overcome the contrasts between the relative social indifference towards fishing, and the frequently negative public attitude towards hunting. Hunting and fishing both use wildlife, both can be humane and professional, or cruel and destructive, and both can only be justified, as Caughley and Sinclair (1994) express it, "…if they are sustainable…". By using a Triple Bottom Line concept (i.e. being socially, economically and environmentally accountable) hunting/fishing can contribute to a holistic and sustainable conservation approach, as recent examples such as CAMPFIRE demonstrate (Child, 1993).

    From an ecological viewpoint, the sustainability of hunting and fishing relies on the principles of wildlife harvesting. Well-managed hunting can have a wide range of benefits for conservation (Bauer and Giles, 2002), which by its very nature is opposed to modern and intensive agriculture and forestry (Leopold, 1933). There is emerging support from those formerly subscribing to the protectionist-conservationist attitude, who now proclaim that rich trophy-hunting tourists might be the saviour of Africa’s wildlife (eg. Roe et al., 2002; Baker, 1997a,b; Lewis and Alpert, 1997; Child, 1993; Meier, 1988). Hunting tourism seems to have become acceptable again, after many years of discredit by the conservation movement (of which many hunters consider themselves a professional part). For example countries such as Zambia, Tanzania,Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia, which are safe-havens for Africa’s magnificent wildlife, derive significant income from commercialised Safari hunting. This tourism form has been instrumental in the development of highly successful community conservation models such as CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe (Child, 1993). Recreational hunting and fishing, a vast industry in the “rich countries” (eg. Bauer and Giles, 2002), may provide increasingly important income to the poorer countries as consumptive wildlife tourism. This industry, however, still raises many questions for conservationists from western countries, while many non-western societies simply view it as an opportunity for income through consumptive wildlife use.

    In this Chapter we mainly focus on the consumptive hunting and fishing aspects of the tourism industry, although the majority of the following is also applicable to the non-consumptive "catch and release" fishing. This review attempts to explain how this tourism industry works, estimates its volume and trends, identifies problems of sustainable hunting and fishing, and suggests improvements towards sustainability of the industry, including conservation and community development.

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