Carry on fishing in lockdown

Anglers have been told they can carry on fishing during the next four weeks of lockdown in England.

Fishing’s governing body the Angling Trust says the latest regulations – which came into force last Thursday in England and are due to continue until December 2nd – mean the sport is classed as a permitted form of outdoor recreation.

The rules also say that you can go fishing with other members of your household or your support bubble or one other individual, provided social distancing and other basic requirements are carried out.

It does, however, mean that competition or match fishing and boat chartering is on hold until the lockdown is over and it also means that tackle shops must remain closed unless they can offer a ‘click and collect’ service.

Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook explained: “Angling is deemed a permissible form of ‘outdoor recreation’, and a lawful reason to leave home. It can take place, without time limits, within the provision allowing people ‘to visit a public outdoor space for the purposes of open-air recreation’.

“A ‘public outdoor space’ is defined as an ‘outdoor place to which the public have, or are permitted, access (whether on payment or otherwise).’ We believe this clearly includes riverbanks, towpaths, beaches and stillwaters that can either be accessed freely or on the payment of a day ticket or subscription levied by the owner or leased to a publicly available fishing association.

“The government clearly intends for people to be able to take their outdoor exercise and recreation in the form of angling and these regulations allow this to occur.”

He pointed out, though, that travel guidance suggests long journeys for freshwater fishing would not be appropriate while sea anglers should focus on local beaches and marks.

Jamie urged anglers to be responsible and added: “It is up to the individual to apply common sense and act within the spirit of the government’s guidance. You absolutely cannot leave home to fish if you have Coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

“This is going to be an extremely difficult period for everybody and we must recognise that we are fortunate that our chosen form of recreation can continue even though there are restrictions on what we can do. The Angling Trust made the case for fishing based on the health and wellbeing benefits that angling offers coupled with the importance of reducing pressure on other open spaces by allowing us to continue to safely enjoy the social isolation and peace that fishing brings. It is incumbent on us all to continue to act responsibly and to fish safely, fish locally and respect the ‘Rule of Two’.”

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