Loch Insch Fishery look at post lockdown angling
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With the current Covid-19 restrictions in place, fresh water angling across the country is on hold.
Since the start of the governments lockdown guidelines the boards of Scottish Angling National Association and Angling Scotland have been discussing presenting a case to the Scottish Government to support a return to angling in some form.
The case now takes the form of a proposal on reopening recreational angling in Scotland which is being submitted to Jeane Freeman Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.
The 11 page document highlights various stages for managing a return to the popular sport.
About the proposal the association said: “We hope that our proposals are seen as credible and responsible as we seek to represent a very wide range of views on this difficult matter.
“It goes without saying that whatever is agreed must first fall in line with broader and over-riding Scottish Government direction.”
The report suggests several key stages and reasons for a return to angling.
It argues that angling is a healthy and extremely popular outdoor activity which has been proven to be beneficial to both the mental and physical wellbeing of participant and is economically significant within the Scottish economy.
Angling also carries a low inherent potential for Covid-19 transmission.
Early stage recommendation's include that anglers must observe minimum social distancing standards and not assemble in more than groups of two.
Anglers must not share fishing tackle or any other items, except with members of the same household.
They also recommend that fishing tackle shops should be allowed to open following social distancing but cafes and clubhouses should remain closed.
Director of Loch Insch Fishery, one of the largest fresh water fisheries in Scotland David Murray said: “We've had reports come through about safety aspects, angler and visitor protection, which is paramount.
“Basically we don't know when we will be reopening but our plans are in place we have over three lochs here so everyone can socially distance its not a problem.
“We have a big fishing lodge here but were just going to have one in one out system so things don't get crowded.
“We are also getting a lot of signage, reminding people of social distancing, hand washing, being aware of what they touch and so on just to remind people as they might forget which is easy to happen.”
When asked about the SANA proposal he added: “It's not about how safe fishing is, its about the travel aspects because the virus doesn't travel itself so fishing is probably as safe as it gets from our social distancing point of view.
“If you've got people travelling 100 miles to go fishing, people come up from Edinburgh, people are coming up from London, they'll bring the virus.
“The virus isn't going to bring itself so I think we're going to try and keep a bit of a lid on it.
“We are going to try and limit numbers here, we can cater for 90 anglers well spread out but I think we'll limit it to only 40 a day just from a logistical point of view in people using the facilities so we haven't got massive queues of people and people hanging round.
“That's the plan, we want to keep everyone at a safe distance.
“It can certainly work here as we're one of the biggest fresh waters in the country so we can certainly do it without any problems.
“If the government say's you can go a 30 mile radius from your house we will have a lot of anglers wanting to come.
“So I think we are pretty geared up to open and I really don't know if it will be this month of next month.”
Work has continued at the site during lockdown with the completion of two new stock ponds to increase capacity.
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