Coronavirus Update: Angling Trust’s ‘When We Fish Again’ report

The Angling Trust reports: The National Governing Body for recreational fishing in the UK – the Angling Trust –  is campaigning for angling to become one of the first permitted outdoor activities when ministers review the coronavirus lockdown restrictions on May 7th.

Fishing is one of Britain’s most popular pastimes and has long been known to be beneficial to mental wellbeing. With the current crisis in mental health caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Angling Trust have proposed how fishing could be safely permitted as soon as it is appropriate for measures to be eased.

A report entitled ‘When We Fish Again’ has been submitted to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the Fisheries and Sports Ministers. It sets out the means by which recreational fishing could be permitted and draws on experience in other European countries including Germany, Holland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Norway where angling has been allowed to continue under certain conditions during the pandemic with significant benefits to both wellbeing and the economy without having a detrimental impact on their efforts to combat COVID-19.

The recreational angling sector is estimated to be worth over £4bn to the UK economy and experience from across Europe indicates that this contribution has grown significantly where angling has been permitted under lockdown. On May 4th angling is set to resume in Belgium and many countries have now announced timetables for a lifting of restrictions on activities such as fishing that allow social distancing to be maintained.

The Angling Trust report recommends a phased resumption in line with the government’s own criteria and identifies a number of other reasons why angling should be an early candidate for consideration including:

  • being a largely solitary sport where self-isolation occurs naturally
  • proven benefits for mental health and physical wellbeing
  • appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds and engaging able-bodied and disabled participants alike
  • the majority of the population live within 5 miles of a waterway minimising the need for significant travel
  • evidence that non-contact outdoor activities will not increase infection rates
  • a reduction in pressure on other public open spaces

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has already confirmed to MPs that ministers are actively considering how low risk outdoor activities like angling and golf might be permitted in the first phase of any easing of restrictions.

The campaign has attracted the support of prominent figures within the angling community and senior MPs.

Angling Trust CEO, Jamie Cook said: “We have demonstrated that angling in the UK could be permitted as a safe, healthy, beneficial outdoor activity and why it should take its position at the front of the queue when restrictions are reviewed…”

Martin Salter said: “Angling is the ultimate social distancing activity as large crowds and successful fishing don’t mix and most anglers tend to crave solitude…”

Summary Report: When We Fish AgainWhen-We-Fish-Again-Report-13


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