Angling

What is Angling?

Angling is the capture of fish for recreational purposes. It therefore may be distinguished from commercial fishing.

There are three popular types of angling: coarse, sea and game.

Background

Angling has long been a recreational pastime in the UK. In this country, it is regulated largely by a series of 'by-laws', the rules made by a local authority to regulate its own affairs. These generally specify regulations for certain species of fish, such as 'bag' limits, as well as specifying controls on angling methods.

Nationally, all anglers over the age of twelve must obtain 'rod licences' from the Environment Agency. Failure to do so can result in prosecution (with a maximum fine of £2,500).

Angling in many locations also requires specific permits, which are issued by individual angling organisations.

Controversies

The debate about angling generally revolves around a mixture of environmental and animal welfare issues.

On the environmental front, angling opponents argue that it creates a lot of litter, given the array of equipment involved. Although lead weights have largely been eradicated, discarded lines and plastic floats are particularly dangerous to waterfowl.

Critics also argue that recreational fishing may contribute to the depletion of some fish stocks, especially through 'sea' angling. However, increased regulation has reduced this problem, as has the promotion of a 'catch and return' policy by angling bodies.

There are also animal welfare concerns about angling methods and the impact of angling on the fish themselves. Some define angling as a 'blood sport' and emphasise the pain and suffering endured by the fish - although scientific opinion on this differs. Animal welfare campaigners also claim that physiological evidence shows that fish removed from water experience stress and lose some of their waterproofing - making them easier prey and more prone to infection.

Statistics

Rod licence prices 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012

Non-migratory trout, char, freshwater (coarse) fish, smelt and eels

Full season £27
Senior concession (aged 65 or over) and disability concession £18
Junior concession (aged 12 to 16) £5
Children under 12 Free
8 day £10
1 day £3.75

Salmon and migratory (sea) trout AND non-migratory trout, char, freshwater (coarse) fish, smelt and eels

Full season £72
Senior concession (aged 65 or over) and disability concession £48
Junior concession (aged 12 to 16) £5
Children under 12 Free
8 day £23
1 day £8

Source: Environment Agency - 2012
 

Quotes

"Through huge efforts and major investments hundreds of miles of rivers and canals running through our towns and cities are now cleaner than in living memory and fish stocks are thriving right in your back yard! ……. So if you think your local river or canal is still fishless give it a try. You could be surprised by the results."

Environment Agency - 2012
 

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