THE Environment Agency has revealed more upbeat figures on angling’s sudden boom in interest.

The Covid angling boom is making 2020 a year that bucks the trends after many downturns for the sport.

And with an increase in rod licence sales year-on-year, the EA is thrilled with recent figures.

The spike in demand was sparked when lockdown restrictions were eased by Boris Johnson, to allow isolated fishing again.

First it was at a 2 m minimum social distance at all times, for people from different households, and now it’s reduced to 1 metre-plus.

Between May 13, when restrictions were lifted, and June 9, over 335,000 licences were sold, a rise of over 200,000 for that time last year.

The EA hopes that, when added to the 160,072 licences sold in April, this will beat last year’s total of 940,974 licences, which generated £20,898,332 in income. The annual licence figures run in line with the EA year of April 1 to March 31.

The sport has another boost now with the return, after a break last year, of the Take A Friend Fishing campaign. It runs from July 4 to 19 and includes a free one-day rod licence offer.

Covid angling growth with benefits

Dr Graeme Storey, EA acting deputy director for fisheries, said: “Since the lifting of restrictions on recreational angling, it has been encouraging to see not only anglers returning to the sport, but also people trying fishing for the first time.

“Responsible fishing is an excellent way to engage with nature and enjoy being outdoors, which in turn can provide positive health and welfare benefits.

“As a consequence of the revenue generated through the sale of rod licences, anglers are at the heart of protecting and improving the very things that they care about.

“Fishing really is an activity that most people of any age can participate in and enjoy.

“Whether looking for a moment of solitude or a family day out, I would encourage anyone thinking about it to give it a go.

“It is important to remember that if you decide to return to fishing or take it up for the first time, you must have a valid fishing licence and adhere to current government guidelines on social distancing.”

Jamie Cook, Angling Trust chief executive, said: “We are delighted that ministers embraced the recommendations in our When We Fish Again report and authorised an early resumption of angling in England to
Covid-compliant guidelines.

“We are also delighted to be witnessing something of a renaissance in angling, with former anglers returning to the sport and newcomers trying fishing for the first time.

“In difficult times, we believe that our sport has much to offer in terms of social, health and economic wellbeing.”

The most recent Angling Trust guidelines for freshwater individual anglers are below.

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