ULSTER ANGLING FEDERATION PROPOSAL ON RECREATIONAL FISHING – Guidance to Ministers on permitting angling during the COVID-19 crisis (4 May 2020)

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As you may be aware the NI Executive is undertaking a review of the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 crisis during w/c 4 May. As part of this process The Ulster Angling Federation (UAF) has made a comprehensive submission to the NI Executive outlining the benefits of angling and how angling could be permitted as a safe activity when relaxing some of the current restrictions. The UAF’s full Report is included on this website in the Publications section under News – Publications. It may be downloaded for viewing and printing. The following is the extract of the UAF’s proposal for a safe return to Angling.

Proposed guidelines for safe, permitted fishing.

The Ulster Angling Federation supports a phased or ‘traffic light’ approach to the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions. We have produced guidelines for the phased resumption of recreational fishing.

Phase One (For Immediate Review)

Recreational angling on lakes, rivers and sea to be added to the list of permissible activities subject to the following guidelines:

1. Angling to be undertaken on a solitary basis – social distancing in accordance with government guidelines must be maintained at all times.

2. Anglers must follow current government guidance on travel for the benefit of recreational activity.

3. All freshwater anglers must be in possession of the relevant Fishing licence.

4. Sea angling from beach and shore to resume along with small scale private boat fishing.

5. No sharing of fishing tackle or any other items.

6. No sharing of fishing positions (swims) except by members of the same household.

7. No angler to fish or pass within 2 meters of any other angler.

8. Freshwater boat fishing to be permitted 2 anglers per boat over 17ft complying with self-distancing over 2 meters. Anglers to travel separately by car to venue unless member of the same family.

9. No keepnets or competition fishing.

10. Online and electronic day ticket payments to be made wherever possible.

11. Onsite shared facilities such as cafes and clubhouses to remain closed.

12. Fisheries unable to adhere to these guidelines should remain closed until further notice.

13. Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or who shares a household with any individual displaying symptoms, should not go fishing and should continue to follow government advice on isolation.

14. Anglers should at all times carry hand sanitizer.

Phase Two

1. Guided boat and kayak fishing to resume on rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

2. Competition fishing should only be undertaken if compliant with all government guidelines.

3. Charter boat fishing to resume under strict guidelines. Boat skippers must ensure that social distancing is always possible by limitng numbers on charter boats if not members of the same household.

4. Shared facilities at fisheries to re-open.

5. Travel restrictions to be reviewed to facilitate outdoor recreation in line with government priorities.

Phase Three

Angling to continue as normal whilst adhering to any social distancing guidelines that may be in force.