Night and match fishing to return on March 29 as Covid restrictions relax

The Angling Trust has been told by Government that night and match fishing can be resumed on March 29 as part of the Government's relaxation of Covid 19 restrictions.

In a statement the Angling Trust said: "Fishing will remain permitted as outdoor recreation or exercise for up to six people, or in a larger group if everyone present is from the same two households. A 'household' can include the support bubble linked to that household if eligible. Outdoor recreational activities and exercise may take place at night so you may fish into or through the night. There are no time limits on outdoor recreation. However, you may not go on holiday to go fishing or use fishing as a pretext for a camping trip as overnight stays for these purposes remain prohibited until April 12th (Step 2)

"Match fishing will be enabled as an organised outdoor sport from March 29th. Organised outdoor sports will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies to ensure appropriate steps, including risk assessments, are taken to make it Covid-secure in line with the law. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants - not spectators.

"Private boat fishing under the Rule of six and charter boats operating in accordance with Covid precautions should now both be allowed. However, where fishing takes place on a partially enclosed boat, eg. with a cabin or lounge area, with the exception of the skipper, those outside the household support bubble must not go indoors except for access to use the toilet.

"The statutory stay at home restriction will be lifted but the guidance will encourage you to minimise travel outside of your local area. This means avoiding making unnecessary journeys, combining trips and avoiding travel at peak times where possible. People should avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary to take part in or during their activity.

"Tackle shops and other non-essential retail can fully open at Step 2 on April 12 but can continue to offer click or call-and-collect until this point. Fisheries offering self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen at this time.

"Throughout, anglers must also ensure they are in possession of a valid fishing licence, adhere to fisheries bylaws including the close season from March 15 to June 15 for coarse fishing on rivers and have permission of the fishery owner."

The Angling Trust says it will update its formal guidelines once it has seen the regulations and had the benefit of legal advice.

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