Officials behind the National Angling Strategy have revealed plans to get more people fishing over the next five years.
The National Angling Strategy Partnership Board unveiled its objectives last week at Get Hooked on Fishing’s Northala Fields headquarters in Northolt, West London, when it admitted that that 33 per cent of anglers fished less in 2018 than they did in 2017.
Martin Salter, policy chief for the Angling Trust, said: “We’re currently dealing with some very real challenges in this sport, and this strategy is a sensible, considered and honest document that doesn’t shy away from these challenges.
“The board is already doing everything possible within the current strategy and the current resources available.
“We have already engaged nearly 40,000 participants over 1,095 angling participation events, of which 21,000 were juniors.
“The Angling Trust has also trained some 295 new angling coaches who delivered around 250 domestic angling competitions involving over 12,000 anglers.
“We have helped, through the Angling Improvement Fund grant and other projects, something like 58 clubs with infrastructure projects – so significant good work is happening at grass roots level. There has to be more of it, however, and it needs to be properly funded.”
The strategy has been developed by research company Substance after 35,000 people responded to the National Angling Survey survey last year.
Among the most common responses were the need to make more information available on where and how to fish, alongside emphasising the mental health and physical fitness benefits fishing can bring.
Get Hooked on Fishing’s chief, Sarah Collins, added: “We want to try and change the image of fishing and show that it’s not just for the lonely man on the bank but that it’s something that families can get involved in.
“We do a lot of work with young people but more has to be done.
“We want to create opportunities for them and help improve their lives.”
Officials from the Environment Agency also attended the launch, with the authority’s chair Emma Howard Boyd agreeing that fishing has superb health benefits to participants: “The National Angling Strategy aims to get more people out to experience angling – because we know that getting outdoors and experiencing nature is good for health and well-being.
“I’m really pleased that the Environment Agency is working with the partners and anglers on this exciting vision for growing the sport and delivering the best possible angling experience in England.”
The National Angling Strategy is coordinated by the Angling Trust with representatives from the Environment Agency, Angling Trades Association, Get Hooked on Fishing and Canal and River Trust.
To read more about the National Angling Strategy, please visit www.substance.net/feature-pages/nationalanglingstrategy/
THE BIG PLAN
The National Angling Strategy Partnership Board’s six objectives to improving angling participation between 2019 and 2024:
1) Develop Awareness and Knowledge of Angling
Angling needs to be visible, attractive, exciting and affordable. For angling to prosper, more people need to be aware of it, realise what they can get from it and how and where they can take part, in both sea and freshwater.
2) Increase Participation in Angling
Make it simple to recruit, retain and re-engage anglers. Angling needs to reverse declines in participation and grow its numbers to deliver more benefits to society and angling. It must recruit new people and broaden its appeal, retain anglers, increase their participation and reengage those who take part.
3) Develop social benefits through angling
Make people more active, healthier, happier and engaged in nature and communities through angling. Angling will be used as a tool for social development by getting more people active, increasing their health and well-being, developing education and skills and increasing volunteering.
4) Develop Sustainable Places to Fish
Develop fisheries that are local, environmentally healthy and accessible. Anglers must be more involved in creating healthy, sustainable fishery environments that are close to where people live and are accessible to all. Government and its agencies need to work with partners to tackle environmental problems and improve sea and freshwater fish stocks.
5) Increase Angling’s Economic Impact
Anglers will deliver a greater economic impact, be more financially sustainable and deliver additional value to the UK economy, rural and coastal communities. There needs to be investment supporting long-term growth in the angling sector to support the development of the market, increase income for angling businesses to enable more sustainable development, and boost angling tourism in rural and coastal areas.
6) Understand angling data and evidence
Use data to ensure angling’s development is informed, accurate and measurable. There needs to be better evidence and data to inform angling’s growth, including better knowledge about non-anglers, the impact it makes and what works in angling development.