A strategy to get more people fishing and help projects that use fishing to provide support to people in need was launched at the Angling Summit in London today.
The new strategy, Fishing for Life, was launched by Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to encourage more people to try angling. The Environment Agency and Angling Trust developed the strategy that builds on angling's proven ability to promote wellbeing, support local communities and contribute to the economy.
As part of the development of the strategy, two national surveys were carried out by research organisation Substance which involved more than 29,000 anglers and 780 organisations working in angling. The results of these surveys were presented at the Summit.
The Summit heard:
- how fishing is helping young people learn to concentrate, take responsibility and achieve better results at school;
- the benefits that people derived by disabilities, recovering war veterans and the mentally ill from learning how to fish, and how to meet their needs;
- the need for access to local waters so that people can regularly benefit from going fishing, and the possibilities for community groups to build angling into regeneration plans;
- the importance of healthy freshwater and marine fish stocks to the future of angling participation;
- the need to promote the benefits of angling to a wider audience.
The strategy will be delivered over the coming years by a wide range of organisations working together to develop plans to deliver the four elements of the strategy:
- Encouraging people to take up and continue fishing so it becomes a habit for life - getting the fishing habit;
- Recognition of angling's role in improving the nation's health, increasing educational attainment and reducing crime and anti social behaviour - transforming and changing lives;
- Improving people's lives by using angling as a catalyst for bringing people and society together - focus on people and places;
- Recognising that fish and fishing are at the heart of a better environment - hands up for the environment;
Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon said:
"As a keen angler myself, I am delighted to be involved with such a worthwhile project. Angling is a great sport for men and women of all ages - it's enjoyable and it gets you outside, enjoying our wonderful waterways and seas and getting all the health and wellbeing benefits from being outdoors."
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said:
"Working on this strategy has been an inspirational experience for us all. There is so much fantastic work being done throughout the country to use fishing to transform people's lives and to protect wonderful watery places. Our job now is to use the strategy to make other people aware of angling's many benefits and to encourage organisations to work together locally and nationally. We are very grateful to the tens of thousands of anglers and the hundreds of angling organisations which have contributed to creation of this exciting new strategy."