The Angling Trust welcomes the decision to allow limited, local angling in Wales but wants Welsh anglers to have the same opportunities as their counterparts in England.
Full access to angling would fantastic news for Welsh anglers, whose mental and physical wellbeing depends on angling, both as an exercise activity and as a past time.
In a letter to First Minister Mark Drakeford, Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook said:
“We are seeking clarity on the guidelines surrounding the safe return of recreational angling in Wales.
We strongly advise that the Welsh Government adopts the comprehensive steps laid out in our when we fish again document (attached) so there is parity with England. Our report lays out safe ways in which individual anglers and fisheries can operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe adherence to our document in both England and Wales will be essential – lets consider that many rivers and fisheries in Wales share a border with England, and scenarios and questions are already arising. For example, a fishery owner on the river Wye has one bank in England, the other in Wales.
We note from Carwyn Jones SM, that it appears driving to fish in Wales is prohibited.
We put forward the case that many anglers are of an older demographic and therefore may find mobility an issue. In order to fish, anglers often need to carry equipment to and from the water, not being able to drive, even a short distance, will unduly restrict the activity for many of our older members. In addition, for disabled persons, angling is a favoured activity, and again, they would be excluded in taking part in a past-time that could be essential for their mental health and wellbeing.
Much as people can drive to garden centres, or DIY stores in Wales, we believe there is a case for being able to drive short distances to fishing venues – subject to the regulations. For example, just a few miles.
A comparable example would be In the Republic of Ireland, where fishing is being allowed within 5km of the home initially, and then within 20 km after 2 weeks. This permits driving to fish, thus allowing all demographics to enjoy, and not just those lucky enough to live close to a suitable venue.
The Angling Trust actively promotes angling in Wales, on behalf of Visit Wales and National Resources Wales, both of whom are Welsh government funded bodies. We have many individual anglers as well as clubs and fisheries in Wales who are members and we continue to work on their behalf.