We have reported previously that the government intended to evolve a new National Angling Strategy. We are pleased to tell you that this has finally been announced. A plan for the next five years, it will be implemented by a new partnership body, the National Angling Strategy Partnership Board. This will be coordinated by the Angling Trust and representatives from the Environment Agency, Angling Trades Association, Get Hooked on Fishing and Canal and River Trust.
The new strategy was developed by Substance, a research company. It follows extensive consultation with anglers and utilises feedback from the 2018 National Angling Survey. The survey featured 35,000 responses and revealed that anglers wanted more information on where and how to fish. Anglers were also keen to promote angling as beneficial for mental health and physical fitness.
As a result, the new strategy aims to encourage more people to experience angling and to deliver the best possible experience in England. All of which sounds encouraging, but what are the details of the National Angling Strategy?
Objective of the National Angling Strategy
The strategy features six objectives. All of which are welcome but none are either surprising or revolutionary!
The first objective outlined is the development of awareness and knowledge of angling. A marketing campaign has been promised and new information will be published about how to fish and the choice of fishing locations. No details have yet been announced as to where this information will be published. Will anglers have access to a new resource such as an angling specific website or will the Environment Agency’s website be expanded?
The strategy’s second objective is to increase participation in the sport over the next five years, particularly amongst women, young people and black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. The government’s announcement did not outline how this objective will be achieved.
Objective three is to develop the social benefits of angling and to increase the number of people getting active through angling. These aims appear to be much the same as objective two! Angling for health projects are promised as is an angling volunteer programme.
Things get slightly more interesting with objective four which is to develop sustainable places to fish and to involve anglers in environmental improvement. Community waters will be created which will provide accessible places for people to fish. These developments would be very good news indeed if they actually happen!
Objective five is to increase the beneficial economic impact of angling via the promotion of angling tourism and new funding for the sector.
The National Angling Strategy is completed by objective six which is to develop an angling research programme. This will dictate future strategies while facilitating assessment of the National Angling Strategy’s success. If it is successful!
The announcement is a little thin on detail. The objectives sound promising but with no information provided as to how the objective will be achieved, it is impossible to consider how effective the strategy might be. The devil is always in the detail and so we wait with baited breath to see if both anglers and the sport as a whole will benefit significantly from the initiatives.