Recreational anglers’ perceptions, attitudes and estimated contribution to angling related marine litter in the German Baltic Sea
Marine litter affects marine environments and ecosystem services worldwide. A substantial amount of the traceable marine litter originates from tourism and recreational activities. An important activity carried out in coastal areas is marine recreational fishing (MRF). Although the impacts of MRF on marine ecosystems has received increasing attention during recent years, the contribution of MRF to marine litter is widely unknown. Marine litter is caused by human activities and its avoidance requires an understanding of environmental behaviour. This study presents results obtained by a telephone survey aimed to assess the behaviour, motivations and attitudes of Baltic Sea anglers towards marine litter. The telephone survey identified three angler types primarily separated by the predominant motives regarding nature experience, catch orientation and challenge seeking. Regardless of their motivation, most anglers were concerned about marine litter, recognised their responsibility and were willing to contribute to litter avoidance and mitigation. The telephone survey was supplemented by face-to-face angler interviews during a stratified random access point intercept survey along the German Baltic coast to estimate the amount of lost fishing tackle based on anglers self-reports. According to the reports, the loss of fishing tackle was a rare event for individual anglers. Nonetheless, given a high number of Baltic Sea anglers and angling effort, local environmental impacts due to lost fishing tackle on marine environments cannot be excluded.