Fishing’s governing bodies in the UK have responded positively to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, although there will be no real change for angling until March 29.
The Government’s ‘stay home’ message and travel restrictions stay in place until then, with the exception of a provision for outdoor recreation as well as exercise. Fishing tackle retailers, currently restricted to online business and click-and-collect, will be able to open their doors again to customers from April 12, in accordance with whatever safety measures might be in place at the time.
“Since angling has been deemed permissible throughout this lockdown the [easing of restrictions] is unlikely to affect us,” said the Angling Trust, the representative body for anglers in England and Wales, in a statement.
“We will know more when the regulations and Department for Culture, Media and Sport guidance are published in the coming days and will update everybody if anything changes. Having a clear date at least means that anglers, clubs and fisheries can plan for the forthcoming season with more certainty.”
Currently anglers are restricted to fishing locally once a day, as a form of exercise, with one other person. No organised gatherings or competitions are permitted.
“Whilst many anglers would have liked angling to be fully opened up earlier, we have to accept that timing was always a matter for the Government acting on public health advice,” said Angling Trust CEO, Jamie Cook.
“Our job is to set out how our sport can be conducted safely and why we should be in the first tranche to resume without travel restrictions and with both competition and night fishing back in place. This all looks set to happen on March 29 and it’s good to see a widespread acceptance that healthy outdoor activities such as angling will be the first to return to some form of normality.”