England: Anglers hit the banks as Prime Minister gives fishing go-ahead
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The industry heaved a sigh of relief as fishing resumed in England this week and anglers celebrated in their droves by converging onto the banks of rivers and lakes across the country.
The order of the day following the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions was strict social distancing, an order that fishermen were more than happy to observe to ensure that they could enjoy the resumption of their sport.
Fishing was given the go-ahead by UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, earlier in the week provided it was conducted alone or with members of the same household.
Government ministers had strongly hinted that angling could be among the first sports to benefit from a lifting of the lockdown and the move was welcomed by the fishing community.
Well known fishing figures have been among those on social media encouraging a return to fishing because it naturally complies with social distancing.
The Angling Trades Association (ATA) and the Angling Trust had also been lobbying for a resumption of the sport, with more than 8,000 individual emails being sent to MPs and many articles appearing in the media urging a safe return.
“Our campaign was in support of a carefully thought-through set of phased guidelines under which angling could be safely permitted without increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmissions,” said Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook.
“Without these guidelines we would have got nowhere, and it is now incumbent upon every angler to respect them and demonstrate that we are still playing our part in the nationwide battle against the Coronavirus.”
“There is still work to do to get tackle shops open and to provide good advice to fisheries, guides and coaches, but it looks like we are there and it’s no longer a question of when we fish again but where we go fishing,” said Angling Trust Policy Chief Martin Salter.