Leisure and recreation
© Crown copyright 2010
Many different leisure and recreation activities in the UK make use of the marine environment. It is difficult to capture the principal market value obtained from recreational and leisure activities because some activities, such as swimming, do not result in a marketable good or paid-for service. Although this sector is likely to have a high value of economic activity, uncovering the economic contribution is hampered by the number of activities, their wide distribution and the lack of centrally available statistics. Such issues also make it difficult to fully assess spatial pressures.
Some indications of the market value of ancillary activities include a turnover of £1.84 billion for the small commercial marine industry in 2006/07; surfing industry turnover of £200 million in 2001; and total expenditure from recreational fishing of £538 million for England and Wales in 2003 and £141 million for Scotland in 2008.
These sources provide a total turnover of £2.74 billion and £1.29 billion GVA. Expenditure on secondary activities such as coastal tourism, accommodation and food can also be significant with an estimated market value for coastal towns of £4.8 billion in 2005 (GVA £2.26 billion). Other benefits that are potentially substantial include employment and cultural values. A good indication of social value can be provided by the levels of participation: in 2007, 5.4 million people participated in watersports and 0.8 million in sea angling.
Overall, the participation in most marine leisure and recreation activities has stayed relatively stable or increased in recent years. The growth and stability of the marine leisure and recreation market is heavily dependent on the general health of the UK economy, which determines whether people have time and money for leisure pursuits. In addition, trends in sea angling are particularly dependent on advances in fishing technology and catch rates of fish while many watersports are supported by improvements in exposure suits and wet suits.
Environmental pressures as a result of recreational use of the seas may include the removal of marine fauna and flora, physical or visual disturbance of wildlife, pollution from wastewater and litter and alteration of coastlines to facilitate access. They are generally managed through a number of local planning policies and best practice guidance published by organisations such as the Royal Yachting Association.