Published on the 18 June 2021, this article discusses the emergence of marine recreational drone fishing and examines its social-ecological sustainability. The drone fishing industry has already created employment opportunities and is expected to grow, providing additional opportunities for local innovation. However, drone fishing is currently only accessible to affluent recreational anglers due to the high costs and technical capabilities required to operate the vehicles. This could decrease the ability of subsistence and small-scale fishers to maintain their livelihoods, as many of the species targeted by recreational anglers are also targeted by these fishers for food security. Additionally, the increase in recreational fishing participation and effort is concerning as it imposes considerable pressure on South African fish stocks. Ethical conflict surrounding drone fishing is also a concern, as a growing proportion of recreational anglers question the ethics and ecological consequences of the practice.
Citations: Alexander C. Winkler, Edward C. Butler, Colin G. Attwood, Bruce Q. Mann and Warren M. Potts. 2020. The emergence of marine recreational drone fishing: regional trends and emerging concerns. Ambio, 51: 638-651