UPDATE: As per the Angling Trust the UK government have now allowed local day fishing sessions only. See https://anglingtrust.net/covid-19/ for full details.
The Angling Trust released a statement yesterday providing clarity on whether angling would be allowed during the first lockdown of 2021 which commenced on 5th January after a public address by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 4th January. Unfortunately for anglers across England, the decision was made by the government to ban fishing during this lockdown, despite lobbying from the Angling Trust which included evidence showing how angling doesn’t contribute towards the spread of COVID-19.
This decision was polarising with anglers, with many agreeing that angling must stop to put less stress on the NHS, while many other anglers made their frustrations known on social media condemning the decision. Fisheries across the country had adjusted their rules and restrictions during 2020 to allow anglers to fish while following all COVID guidelines. This is another reason why so many anglers were left confused with the decision.
You can read the statement from Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust here:
“The regulations have now been published and confirm this evening’s message from the Cabinet Office that the Government have taken the decision that fishing will not be permitted during this national lockdown period. Whilst this is disappointing news I would ask anglers, fisheries and clubs to respect these rules and the reason they have been put in place; to help save lives and support the NHS.
Individuals should not go fishing from midnight tonight (5th January) and clubs and fisheries should close their waters to anglers. We will be publishing more detailed guidance on specific areas like bailiffing and fishery maintenance once the Government regulations have been examined.
Over the past few weeks we have been in communication with the Government at the highest possible level. We have presented a strong case on how fishing could continue safely during the third national lockdown. We have explained that fishing benefits physical health and mental wellbeing and that it is regularly the only form of activity individuals undertake. You can read our representations to Cabinet Ministers here.
My team and I have consistently presented the arguments ahead of the changing government guidelines, which have allowed fishing to remain permitted continuously since the first national lockdown was lifted in May. We have been successful when other sports have not as all anglers will know.
However, with 60,000 new infections announced today, the Government have taken the decision that leaving home for recreation or leisure, including all forms of recreational fishing, should be prohibited in England during this third national lockdown period.
I thank you for your support and for being a credit to our sport. As members, you can rest assured that the Angling Trust will continue to represent our sport at the highest level and will present proposals for the resumption of angling when it is safe and sensible to do so. We will come through this period of national crisis. We will fish again, but until then, please, stay safe.”
Do you support this decision on angling for the lockdown? Do you believe that fishing was safe during the pandemic in 2020? Let us know in the comments.