Statement from the Angling Trust on the national lockdown rules
Whilst the regulations have not yet been published we have been informed this evening by the Cabinet Office that the Government have taken the decision that fishing in England 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 published. Please check the Angling Trust website over coming days.
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. Jamie Cook
CEO, Angling Trust
Details of Covid restrictions and how they affect angling in Wales can be found on our Fishing In Wales website here.
Following yesterday's written communication from the Cabinet Office that fishing is to be prohibited throughout the third national lockdown period we contacted supportive MPs and highlighted the problems with this decision and the logic behind it, with a view to securing a safe return to angling as soon as possible. Late this evening I was informed by DCMS officials that the Government are again reconsidering their position.
It would appear that the definition of "exercise" may well be wider than the previous ‘running, walking, cycling’ and we have insisted that the Government recognise both the physical health and mental wellbeing benefits of angling in any decision they make. We strongly believe that exercise should not simply be limited to high impact, aerobic activities which the first lockdown proved led to many in society being left without the means to maintain an active lifestyle. The Government has heard our case loud and clear and it was repeated with some force by MP’s in this afternoons commons debate. We hope that they will now acknowledge, as they have before, that fishing is part of the solution and not part of the problem.
We are expecting to see the publication of revised guidance and supporting FAQ’s from the Government tomorrow. We will immediately share these with the angling community the moment they become available. We are working as hard as we can for our members and the sport we all love and when we know more so will you.
This is incredibly frustrating for all of us. Anglers have acted with huge credit throughout this period and I thank you for your support.
Please stay safe
Fishing to be allowed during England’s national lockdown – Angling Trust announcement
07 January 2021
The Government have now formally responded to the representations made by the Angling Trust. We have promoted the huge benefits of fishing on individual health and wellbeing and have been able to present a case to which the Government have listened. On this basis I am pleased to announce that fishing will be permitted during the third national lockdown in England.
The Head of Sports Participation at DCMS confirmed the following: “fishing is allowed as exercise so long as participants adhere to the rules on staying local, gathering limits, social distancing and limiting the time spent outdoors”
This has also been confirmed by DEFRA: “Cabinet Office have now officially confirmed that angling / fishing (incl. sea fishing off private boats, water sports) can be considered exercise and are hence permitted.”
We have worked extremely hard to reach this position and we as anglers have a duty to abide by the strict conditions under which fishing is once again permitted. With infection rates and death tolls rising we must stick to the Government’s rules and ensure that angling remains part of the solution and does not cause problems.
Please bear in mind these key points which will be reflected in the new Angling Trust guidelines which we will publish shortly:
This is a strictly limited resumption of LOCAL fishing and very different to how we have been allowed to operate since May.
We are in a National Lockdown and this must be respected. The law requires a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home or penalties will apply.
The Government has recognised that fishing can be seen as exercise, which is expressly permitted under the lockdown rules, although outdoor recreation is not.
Organised sporting gatherings are prohibited so no match fishing.
The exercise is limited to once a day so no overnight fishing whatsoever.
To remain within the law you should follow the Government’s guidance, and only fish locally within the district where you live. If you have no local fishing available then you will have to take your daily exercise in other ways.
We are once again able to enjoy the sport we love at a time when many others cannot and we must ensure that every angler adheres to the rules.
I would ask all anglers who are not members to join the Angling Trust and give us your support. We have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome and that is only possible thanks to the support of our new and existing members. I would ask all anglers who value their ability to go fishing to make the same commitment as your fellow anglers have and join the Angling Trust. We are stronger together! Join the Angling Trust today
Stay safe and very best fishes Jamie Cook
Chief Executive, Angling Trust