Government backs angling at launch of National Fishing Week
The Government gave angling its blessing and recognised the sport's contribution to society and the environment when Sports Minister Richard Caborn MP launched UK National Fishing Week at Portcullis House on Monday, May 24.
The event is sponsored by the Environment Agency and the Royal Bank of Scotland, backed by the Angling Trade Association.
Addressing a group of about 50 leading players from angling, the tackle industry and the angling Media, the Sports Minister encouraged anglers to stand up and promote their sport more, saying: "You are one of the sports which have not sung your song as well as you might have done, yet some of the work you have done has probably done more to keep young people out of trouble than schemes which have cost an awful lot more."
He added: "Some of the best environmentalists are probably anglers. As far as the future is concerned, if four million people are regular anglers it shows you are right up there in the Premier Division."
And he praised the work of the National Federation of Anglers. "The National Federation bringing you all together with one voice is something which does resonate at Whitehall and singing with one voice is far better than being fragmented. This is something which will bring dividends in the future.
"Good luck for the future because we want to make sure you continue to flourish."
And Dafyd Evans, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, echoed the Minister's sentiments by saying: "The social and ecological value of fisheries to this country is enormous, and I don't think anyone involved has sold the benefits enough which is why promoting angling in a safe environment has to be a great thing."
After paying tribute to Vince Lister and Ted Heathcote-Walker who have just retired from running National Fishing Week, Roger Smith, Chairman of the Angling Trade Association, said: "As Chairman of the ATA I am proud to have led my association to take over the mantle of organising National Fishing Week. From the foundations laid by Vince and Ted we can now grow and enhance National Fishing Week with the support of Government and sponsorship from the Environment Agency, the Royal Bank of Scotland and SportsMatch along with the ATA's administration and resources."
He invited anyone and everyone who wants to try fishing to join in one of the National Fishing Week events around the UK and experience the sport for themselves. "Angling has no boundaries and is socially inclusive - young and old, male and female, rich and poor, disabled and able-bodied, class or creed - it can be tried and enjoyed by everyone," he said.
"However, angling is not always an easy sport to access - you need a licence, the right equipment and you have top know where to go and as a new angler it helps to have someone to go with."
He added: "National Fishing Week addresses these perceived barriers. During the week, the Government and Environment Agency have agreed to free temporary licences to all who want to give angling a go at one of our events whilst the ATA have made available a 'Tackle Pool' of equipment free of charge to assist newcomers and angling coaches up and down the country."
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