Coronavirus - Can we fish again?

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18 May

As most European countries are progressively relaxing lockdown measures, anglers throughout Europe are wondering whether they can take their rods and go back to their favourite fishing spots. The EAA’s national associations are the best allies of those who are seeking more information on the current state of play. Here is a review of the new measures regarding angling country by country.

UK

Together with other ‘unlimited outdoor sports’ such as golf, basketball and tennis, angling is allowed since the 13th of May. This decision, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, followed intense lobbying led by the Angling Trust. Since this announcement, the EAA’s UK member issued a Phase One Guidelines for clubs and fisheries

  • Coarse fishing will be allowed as of the 16th of June; 
  • Angling can be practiced with people from the same household or only with one person outside one’s household; 
  • Each angler must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people; 
  • Competitions are still banned; 
  • Anglers should contact their clubs as many are using booking systems. 

More information and updates are available on the Angling Trust website

ITALY 

On the 4th of May, the angling ban has been lifted in Italy. Anglers should continue to respect some rules like travelling only in their region of residence, fishing with people from the same household only and keeping a two-metre distance from other people. The presence of an accompanying person for minor or for people who are not completely self-sufficient is possible. The obligation to wear a mask must be respected in public transportation. 

More information available here

FRANCE 

Sea angling is allowed since the 11th of May as France has started to lift some lockdown related measures. The Fédération Nationale de la Plaisance et des Pêches en mer urges anglers to keep respecting the rules to demonstrate to the authorities that they were right to trust the anglers. However, some uncertainties remain for fishing in lakes and rivers. Anglers must contact the Prefecture of their department as some departments do not allow anglers to go fishing yet, for instance, Saône-et-Loire and Vendée. 

More information available here

THE NETHERLANDS 

Unlike other European countries, angling was never fully banned in The Netherlands. However, Sportvisserij Nederland urges anglers to follow the recommendations listed below: 

  • It is preferable to fish alone and preferably in a rural environment. 
  • One should keep at least 1.5 meters away from other people. 
  • Anglers experiencing any symptoms of flu or cold should stay at home. It also applies in the case of a family member. 

Official competitions are still prohibited. These can be resumed from the 1st of September (subject to corona developments). 

More information is available here

SLOVENIA 

Slovenia has been one of the first European countries to end angling restrictions on the 30th of April. The Ribiska Zveza Slovenije does recommend however to strictly abide the recommendations from the Slovenian government listed below: 

  • Angling is allowed as an individual practice or with a close family member only; 
  • A distance of 10 meters while angling should be respected; 
  • A distance of 2 meters should be maintained while meeting other anglers or contacting any other person; 
  • Travelling to an angling spot is allowed alone or exceptionally with a close family member; 
  • It is preferable to wear personal protective equipment and to regularly washing hands. 

More information is available here

DENMARK 

Angling has never been banned in Denmark. As phase 2 of the relaxation started, outdoor recreation in groups of up to 10 people is now possible. The Danmarks Sportsfiskerfobund recommends that anglers resume club life to the extent possible. The association suggests for instance to hold junior evenings for smaller groups or arrange outdoor community trips for up to 10 people. During phase 3, which will start on the 8th of June, it will be possible to organise activities involving groups of 30-50 people. 

More information is available here

FINLAND 

As in other Nordic countries, in Finland angling has always been allowed throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Since the 14th of May, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry allows fishing boats to cross the Swedish border on the Tornio river and the Norwegian border on the Teno river. It is possible to fish from the boat as long as one does not land on the other side of the border. 

More information is available here and regular updates are provided on the Suomen Vapaa-ajankalastajien Keskusjärjestö’s website

SWEDEN 

As Sweden has never implemented a lockdown, angling has always been allowed all over the country. EAA member association Sportfiskarna even registered a record interest in angling during the pandemic. In April, the number of fishing licenses issues on its portal increased by more than 70% and by more than 160% in May so far. Anglers should keep following the recommendations of the Public Health Authority.

More information is available here

NORWAY 

Norwegian anglers were also able to go fishing during the past months of the pandemic. However, group activities were banned and start to be allowed again now. Since the 7th of May, events are open for up to 50 people. Nevertheless, the Norges Jeger- og Fiskerforbund has decided that all summer events and planned family activities will be postponed to August. 

More information is available here

GERMANY 

The Deutsche Angelfischerverband eV keeps advising anglers to follow the recommendations issued by the Federal and States’ Governments and the Health Authorities. 

Angling as such is generally allowed in every German federal state. In some federal states, fishing in commercial fishing ponds is also again permitted. The prescribed distance rules (1.5 meters) must be observed. It is only possible to fish alone, with relatives who live in the same household or with one person who does not live in your own household. Angling in groups is not permitted.
Fishing is also prohibited for tourists (e.g. participation in fishing trips on commercial charter boats). The regulation could, however, be lifted shortly while maintaining the general distance regulations.

IRELAND 

The National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) has presented a plan to manage the coming months when it comes to angling, angling clubs’ activities and angling competitions. 

Angling is allowed in the Republic of Ireland since the 6th of May though anglers may fish in a location within 5 kilometres from their home. Inland Fisheries Irelands will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates in line with the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business. As the government reminded, spending time outside is good for one’s health but the following recommendations shall be followed: 

  • Avoiding crowded areas and reducing social interactions; 
  • Remaining 2 metres apart (roughly one rod length) from each other and other members of the public; 
  • Routinely wash hands before and after touching common infrastructure (gates, stiles, etc); 
  • Fishing for a brief period only. 

More information available here

BELGIUM

The angling ban has been lifted on the 4th of May and people can now practice any physical activity provided that a distance of 1.5 metres from other people can be maintained.

In Flanders, anglers can go fishing with their own equipment, together with people from the same household or with two other people maximum (who must be always the same). The distance between anglers should be at least 1.5 metres. It is recommended to use one’s common sense while traveling as there is no distance limitation. Fishing from boats is allowed only for people living under the same roof. No competitions may be held.

More information is available here.

In Wallonia, anglers should ideally practice their activity alone or with two individuals living under the same roof. The minimum distance between each angler is 5 metres. The return trip should be done alone (except for people living under the same roof) and in the most direct way possible, without making any detour. Angling competitions are still prohibited.

More information here.




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