A former world champion angler has urged his country to invest more in fishing tourism.
Hywel Morgan, who was also European fly casting champion, says that current revenue could be doubled if fishing in Wales was more heavily promoted.
According to the 2018 Natural Resources Wales (NRW) study, river fishing adds £20 million per annum to the country’s economy. The figure did not include fishing in lakes, commercial fisheries or the sea.
“For years in Wales we’ve been very secretive, keeping all the fishing to ourselves,” Morgan (above) told BBC Wales. “We’ve got top class sea trout, salmon, brown trout and grayling fishing, and fantastic coastal fishing. We have superstar waters.”
NRW Principal Fisheries Advisor Ben Wilson added: “Angling already plays an important role, providing socio-economic benefits, often in rural parts of Wales.
“Fishing on Welsh rivers alone adds about £20 million in goods and services to the economy every year and supports more than 700 jobs. We attract anglers from England and Europe, and there is scope for us to attract more.
“We remain committed to supporting the angling community, improving fisheries and securing a sustainable future for the sport.”
The Fishing in Wales tourism initiative started two years ago and, despite COVID, its website has attracted 630,000 visits in that time.
Marketing Manager Ceri Thomas said that ‘ever-increasing’ numbers of fishing inquiries are being received from outside of Wales.
It is hoped that a new game fair that was held on the Faenol Estate, near Bangor, Gwynedd earlier this month might has helped promote fishing to a new audience.
“It is a step forward, but we have to do a lot more,” added Morgan. “It is about time Wales stepped up to the plate and started showing people how good the quality of fishing is in Wales so we can reap the rewards.”