An ecotourism perspective on billfish fisheries

Stephen M. Holland, Robert B. Ditton, Alan R. Graefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Tourism is a major source of earnings, supplemental to and possibly replacing those of agriculture and extractive industries in many regions of the world. Fish stocks and the recreational fishing opportunities they afford are one of many natural resource based attractions that lure tourists to various destinations. Billfish species (blue marlin, black marlin, white marlin, striped marlin and sailfish) are a major tourism attraction worldwide for recreational fishing enthusiasts. Increasingly, billfish anglers are attempting to act responsibly toward billfish resources. Many have practised catch and release philosophy and conservation techniques for some time. Many billfish anglers contribute money and time to fisheries conservation organisations and efforts. Can fishing be considered as a form of ecotourism? This paper reviews definitions of ecotourism to distil six criteria: natural resource based, specific clientele, evidence of responsibility toward the resource, economic support for resource conservation, economic advantages of appreciative use, and social responsibility to local economy. Evidence is presented that some forms of billfishing meet these criteria and can be considered as ecotourism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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