Sbragaglia, V. et al. (including Villasante, S. and Pita, P.). (2021). EcoEvoRxiv Preprints.
Spearfishing is practiced by a small fraction of younger recreational fishers and has received considerably less scientific attention than angling. This knowledge gap may negatively affect the ability for developing sustainable marine recreational fisheries. We address this through a global systematic review of the literature pertaining to marine spearfishing (both recreational and otherwise) and providing an integrative overview of key research topics of ecological, social, and economic dimensions. The systematic review indicated an increasing number of papers related to marine recreational spearfishing, with the majority exclusively focused on ecological impacts of spearfishing. The integrative review identifies the most relevant ecological impacts and possible strategies to minimize them to develop sustainable marine recreational spearfishing. Marine recreational spearfishing fosters connection with the underwater environment, but more research on the social aspects is needed. Results also show a growing research interest in assessing the economic contribution of marine recreational spearfishing. Finally, we argue that recreational spearfishers represent a widespread network of underwater observers whose extensive knowledge may help to identify and track changes in marine ecosystems. Overall, we highlight key points to consider when conducting multi- and interdisciplinary research regarding marine recreational spearfishing.