Lockdown Update and Fishing Rules: 5th November to 2nd December
The regulations are clear and you can only leave home to fish with members of your own household, your support bubble or with one other individual. The Rule of Six is now effectively the Rule of Two for most of us. The tightening of the rules on ‘gatherings’ means that match fishing or any other organised fishing event is prohibited by law during lockdown. However, competitive fishing will be able to resume once there is a return to the three tier system of restrictions.
On this basis we can announce that all BCAA competitions are suspended for the period covering 5th November – 2nd December 2020.
Where You Can Fish
Angling is deemed a permissible form of ‘outdoor recreation’, and a lawful reason to leave home. It can take place, without time limits, within the provision allowing people “to visit a public outdoor space for the purposes of open air recreation”.
A ‘public outdoor space’ is defined as an ‘outdoor place to which the public have, or are permitted, access (whether on payment or otherwise).’ The Angling Trust believe this clearly includes riverbanks, towpaths, beaches and stillwaters that can either be accessed freely or on the payment of a day ticket or subscription levied by the owner or leased to a publicly available fishing association. The government clearly intends for people to be able to take their outdoor exercise and recreation in the form of angling and these regulations allow this to occur.
Fisheries are not on the published list of businesses that the government has ordered to close and there is no reason that they should do so providing that they operate in accordance with the rules
It does not permit club activities and all indoor or social facilities in any way connected with a fishing venue are not permitted.
Travelling to fish
Whilst the government have chosen not to write their travel guidance into law the Angling Trust are urging anglers to respect the advice which states that it is permissible to travel in order to:
“to spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)”
Put simply, you can travel to go fishing but long journeys should be avoided ‘wherever possible’. Sea anglers should focus on their local beaches and fishing marks and freshwater anglers should not be travelling hundreds of miles in search of fishing during lockdown. It is up to the individual to apply common sense and act within the spirit of the government’s guidance. You absolutely cannot leave home to fish if you have Coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.
How long to fish
There are no limits on the time that can be spent on outdoor recreation which means that anglers are able to continue fish on BCAA waters during daylight hours.
Essential fishery management work, which clearly cannot be undertaken from home, can continue as can any necessary, socially distanced working parties fall within the provisions for ‘voluntary work’. Appropriate risk assessments must be in place and numbers should be sensibly managed.
This is going to be an extremely difficult period for everybody and as anglers we must recognise that we are fortunate that our chosen form of recreation can continue even though there are restrictions on what we can do. The Angling Trust made the case for fishing based on the health and wellbeing benefits that angling offers coupled with the importance of reducing pressure on other open spaces by allowing us to continue to safely enjoy the social isolation and peace that fishing brings. It is incumbent on us all to continue to act responsibly and to fish safely, fish locally and respect the Rule of Two.
WHAT THE ANGLING TRUST CEO SAYS
“We are obviously pleased that fishing can continue during lockdown even with the restrictions that are in place which have temporarily suspended match fishing. Angling has conducted itself safely and responsibly throughout this pandemic and the Angling Trust is determined to ensure that our chosen form of outdoor recreation remains part of the solution rather than the problem. To do this anglers must continue to fish safely, locally and responsibly.” Jamie Cook, Angling Trust CEO