Marine debris, directly and indirectly, threatens marine habitat and biota. Fishing activity is generally recognised as a contributor to marine debris, but the relative input from recreational fishing remains unassessed. Here we provide the first comprehensive literature review of recreational fishing marine debris (RFMD) on a global scale. A systematic literature review identified 70 studies related to RFMD, and plastic and metal respectively were the dominant debris materials found. Nearshore coastal areas and reefs, acted as both sources and sinks of RFMD and a diverse suite of potential impacts such as ghost fishing and entanglement were identified at local scales. Overall, research of RFMD is lacking globally, however, its role in marine debris input is likely underestimated. We recommend more research on the volumes and risks, using a standardised classification approach. Where intervention is required, we suggest cooperative approaches between the sector and authorities.