Fish­ing’s fu­ture dis­cussed at con­fer­ence

Fu­ture of our sport comes un­der scru­tiny as En­vi­ron­ment Agency launches big­gest an­gler sur­vey since 2002

Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS - FRED­DIE SANDFORD News re­porter

TRENDY’, ‘cool’ and ‘sexy’ aren’t words usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with the pub­lic im­age of angling. How­ever, experts be­lieve this needs to change quickly if we are to se­cure a safe fu­ture for our sport, Angling Times can re­veal.

The news comes out of a spe­cially or­gan­ised ‘think tank’ at Soli­hull’s Barston Lakes, where lead­ing fig­ures from the sport’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies and con­cerned an­glers met to for­mu­late a plan to re­verse the cur­rent de­cline in rod li­cence sales.

Their ideas would be used to con­trib­ute to the forth­com­ing Na­tional Angling Strat­egy – an ini­tia­tive de­signed to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in angling over the next few years.

Adam Brown­ing, of the Angling Trust, and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s Tom Sher­wood pitched the Strat­egy af­ter sta­tis­tics re­vealed an 11.5 per cent de­cline in rod li­cence sales.

They told the au­di­ence: “Angling is an as­set of im­mense sig­nif­i­cance, gen­er­at­ing £1.4 bil­lion for the Bri­tish econ­omy ev­ery year, as well as sup­port­ing 27,000 full time equiv­a­lent jobs.

“Af­ter the sharp de­cline in rod li­cence sales it’s es­sen­tial that we act to present angling to a new au­di­ence.”

Most agreed that to the unini­ti­ated, the pub­lic im­age of fish­ing is a neg­a­tive one – typ­i­cally a mid­dle-aged man sat on a river­bank, in the rain, catch­ing noth­ing.

Carp Team Eng­land man­ager and TV pre­sen­ter, Rob Hughes, strongly be­lieves it’s this im­age which needs to change quickly to at­tract new an­glers.

He told us: “We need to make fish­ing trendy and sexy to dis­prove the stereo­typ­i­cal im­age of a bor­ing and lonely an­gler on the bank.

“Us­ing dig­i­tal me­dia to con­vey this is piv­otal to its

“David Beck­ham fish­ing with his sons gen­er­ated the most in­ter­est of any angling -based so­cial me­dia post”

suc­cess, and by mak­ing ex­cit­ing and en­gag­ing con­tent we can in­tro­duce the pub­lic to angling in a dif­fer­ent light.”

As an ex­am­ple of the po­ten­tial im­pact of of on­line angling pro­mo­tion, it was re­vealed that an im­age of David Beck­ham fish­ing with his sons gen­er­ated the most in­ter­est of any angling-based so­cial me­dia post in years, quickly amass­ing over two mil­lion ‘likes’.

Sarah Collins, CEO of Get Hooked On Fish­ing, en­dorsed Rob’s idea.

She said: “When I first walked into a tackle shop I found it an un­com­fort­able place where I was looked upon in an un­friendly light.

“For angling to ap­peal to a wider au­di­ence we must give it a fun, safe, fam­ily-friendly im­age. With­out this peo­ple are put off be­fore they’ve even wet a line.”

If we want more young­sters to get in­volved in fish­ing we need to high­light how ‘cool’ it is. Tom Sher­wood (L) of the EA and the Angling Trust’s Adam Brown­ing.

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