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Advice for clubs, fisheries & other organisations

Our guidance for clubs & fisheries on how to resume fishing safely during the COVID-19 health pandemic. These guidelines are designed to help you prepare for phase one of our plan to make angling compliant with current Covid-19 regulations.

Last updated: 6 July 2020

Implementing Phase One & Revisions

Managing the number of people at your venue
  • You should consider how many people each venue can safely cater for. Our recommendations are for anglers to remain 15m apart whilst pleasure fishing but recognise that there are venues where this is impractical. With regard to match fishing we favour leaving peg spacing to the common sense of match organisers.
  • To ensure a safe return to angling post lockdown you should consider a phased opening of venues to ensure controlled management. 
  • For popular venues you should consider using a simple booking system to avoid breaching any of the current Government regulations and becoming overcrowded. For example you could ask people to book in with a nominated bailiff or club official. 
  • Online platform Castbooker (www.castbooker.com) provides a simple system to pre-book and pay for day tickets online. If no system is currently in place, it is recommended to look at Castbooker or similar providers. 
  • Where relevant, angling clubs should consider initially restricting or stopping day ticket sales to help manage demand. 
  • Competitions may be organised, provided they meet current social distancing guidelines and follow the best practice guidance issued by the Angling Trust. The Head of Sports Participation at DCMS agreed that the new Angling Trust best practice guidelines were ‘sensible’ and could now be issued as the basis for a safe resumption of match fishing in England from May 25th.
  • Anglers may now use keepnets. Following the return of match fishing to the new COVID compliant best practice guidelines the Angling Trust has revised the overall guidance in respect of no longer discouraging the use of keepnets.
  • Following the government statement of May 13th 2020 and the accompanying guidelines from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, fishing at night in England is currently permissible as long as social distancing rules are followed. Download our guidance on night fishing.
  • Following government approval for water sports to resume, we can clarify that this includes solo boat and kayak fishing, and shared boat fishing on both sea and freshwater with a household member or one other person where social distancing can be maintained.
  • The Angling Trust was unsuccessful in attempts to persuade the government to allow the reopening of tackle shops to coincide with the resumption of angling on May 13th. It now looks as is they will be reopening on June 15th. Tackle shops are able to carry on trading by remote ordering (online, phone, text or post).
Shared Facilities & Hygiene

  • Access to toilet facilities should only be considered if cleanliness of the facility is guaranteed to be maintained in accordance with current Government guidelines.
  • The cleaning of gates, locks, boats, catch return boxes and other items that will be handled by anglers as part of their fishing session should be considered and wherever possible the number of individuals coming into contact with these items should be reduced.
  • Consideration should be taken as to whether access gates could be manned or left open, reducing the need for visiting anglers to touch and handle them.
  • Club and fisheries should consider the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff members and volunteers. Government guidelines on appropriate PPE can be found here.
  • Fisheries who provide shared equipment such as landing nets, mats, sling etc. – should ensure that this equipment is cleaned appropriately prior to every use.
Bailiffing and Enforcement
Day Ticket and Membership Sales
  • Anglers should be advised not to travel to a fishery or water without confirming their ability to fish.
  • Clubs and fisheries should employ remote membership options via post and online platforms wherever possible. Support to set up online membership payments is available through Angling Trust partner Clubmate, who are offering their services free of charge for three months.
  • Contactless payments should be encouraged.
Communicating with members and customers
  • During this time, clubs are advised to display the guidance that anglers must follow in this first phase of our return to fishing.
  • We’ve included basic templates in the downloadable document on this web page – you can adapt and use these on your website, social media and also print off to display at venues.
  • You may need to consider adjustments to your venue rules as a result of these guidelines – these should also be clearly communicated.

Download these guidelines

For Clubs & Fisheries 

Further questions you may have

We have club matches scheduled for the coming weeks, should we go ahead with these?

The Head of Sports Participation at DCMS agreed that the new Angling Trust best practice guidelines were ‘sensible’ and could now be issued as the basis for a safe resumption of match fishing in England from May 25th. DCMS also stated that they were looking for sports to satisfy themselves that all guidance they are producing for their members adheres to the overarching guidance published by the government. Our lawyers concurred that this was the case.

As a fisheries manager, water bailiff or accredited club volunteer am I allowed to travel by vehicle to the fishery to carry out essential work to ensure the fishery is secure and no-one is fishing it?

Travel is authorised for persons acting on official duties and travelling to or from work when they cannot work from home. The Government are not saying only people doing “essential” work can go to work. Anyone who cannot work from home can still travel to work and there is no stipulation requiring this to be paid work.

We would advise that this type of work is classified as essential to your fishery and that, obviously, this is not possible to be done from your home. Further, we would advise that where a fishery is fenced and gated you change the locks immediately.

Any attempts to exploit loopholes in the legislation by allowing bailiffs to continue fishing waters as part of their ‘security duties’ could be seen as highly questionable and leave both the fishery and the individuals open to challenge by the police. Furthermore, it is likely that the relevant insurance cover could be rendered invalid. (See FAQ 8)

Police Advice

The National Policing Lead on Rural & Wildlife Crime’s Staff Officer has advised us that:

“The Police support and protect the UK’s infrastructure, including the recreational fishing industry, recognising that waters and commercial interests still require protection at this difficult time. If a person’s essential travel is ‘reasonable’ and ‘proportionate’ then they should fulfil their roles protecting fisheries, whilst taking as much care as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Bailiffs and Club Volunteers

For clubs that do not have employees then we would advise that nominated volunteers – for example club bailiffs – could carry out these activities and would further advise that they carry a letter from the relevant club official explaining why these are viewed as ‘essential activities’ and cannot be done from home.

At all times, Government guidelines should be followed to stop the risk of spreading the virus; there should be no more than two employees / volunteers in attendance, they should ensure that at all times they are a minimum of two metres apart and should wash their hands thoroughly before arriving at the fishery and afterwards. They should carry bio-wipes to clean gates, locks or any surface likely to be touched by others before and after use. If bio-wipes are not available use disposable gloves.

Further information on Fisheries Enforcement

As a fisheries manager / owner or accredited volunteer am I allowed to travel by vehicle to the fishery to feed the fish and check that they are still healthy and if I think there are disease issues can I still report this to the Fish Health Inspectorate?

We would advise that this type of work is classified as essential to your fishery and that, obviously, this is not possible to be done from your home therefore travel is permitted.

With regards to the feeding of fish and fish welfare issues please refer to the guidance issued by the Institute of Fisheries Management.

With regards to reporting to the Fish Health Inspectorate please see their latest advice.

Bailiffs and Volunteers

For clubs that do not have employees then we would advise that nominated volunteers – for example, club bailiffs – could carry out these activities and would further advise that they carry a letter from the relevant club official explaining why these are viewed as ‘essential activities’ and cannot be done from home.

At all times government guidelines should be followed to stop the risk of spreading the virus; there should be no more than two employees / volunteers in attendance, they should ensure that at all times they are a minimum of two metres apart and should wash their hands thoroughly before arriving at the fishery and afterwards. They should carry bio-wipes to clean gates, locks or any surface likely to be touched by others before and after use, if bio-wipes are not available use disposable gloves.

My club is classified as an Undertaker under the Reservoir Act for a high risk categorised reservoir. Are we allowed to travel to the dam wall for regular inspections and to clear spillways?

We have sought clarity from the Environment Agency with regards to this question and their response is “The safety of High Risk Reservoirs is critical to the protection of the public downstream and would urge owners to continue making sure their reservoirs remain safe but also they need to consider their safety in light of Covid-19 too.” Government are presently preparing a Regulatory Position Statement with regards to this and if you would send us your contact details we will forward this to you once we have received it.

We are a trout fishery and we normally stock our waters at this time of year. Are fish farms allowed to continue this in light of the restrictions?

Please contact your fish farm for advice on this matter. We understand that this is allowed for fish welfare reasons, but their trade associations will have the most up to date information from DEFRA.

If a club or fishery allows fishing during a period of restricted movement would that invalidate their insurance?

Insurers will always require and expect the insured to act reasonably and follow guidelines from their NGB and Government. The insured should also follow legal requirements and the law. Failure to follow guidelines will give insurers cause to consider whether the insured has acted reasonably or not. If it is determined that the insured has not acted reasonably or taken reasonable precautions, the insurer may not pay claims. If the insured does not follow legal requirements, insurers are most likely to say that the insured has invalidated their insurance and there would be no cover.

Is checking our otter fence classed as essential maintenance?

Checking your otter fence should form part of your essential fisheries management tasks that need to be undertaken for fish welfare purposes, such as feeding and water quality checks.

Essential otter fencing maintenance

  • The boundary fence in its entirety must be checked regularly, including essential repairs to splayed or broken wires and particularly those at or near ground level.
  • Ensure skirts continue to be securely affixed to the ground and ideally covered with spoil.
  • If rabbit/chicken wire has been used, look out for larger holes which could be used by an otter to gain entry.
  • It’s essential the boundary is checked immediately following severe gales and any damage repaired immediately.
  • To assist with the visual inspection of the fence line, encroaching vegetation may need to be controlled on a regular basis. Avoid using brushcutters, since these can easily cut the wire.
  • Ensure that all inlets & outlets, both above & below the water level are secure and otter proof, especially following periods of heavy rainfall.
  • Ensure the gates continue to close properly allowing no gap greater than 50mm on either the hanging or clashing side, or underneath the gate, whereby an otter may gain access. And, maintain the solid base beneath the gate to prevent an otter being able to dig under.
  • Look for possible entry points being dug in, or out by rabbits, badgers etc.
  • Unfortunately, some sites have suffered from deliberate vandalism of their fence lines in the past, with holes being cut through the fence, so it’s imperative to check the boundary fence and to maintain good relations.
  • If you use either an electric fence to protect your fishery or incorporate electric scare wires in addition to a ‘barrier’ fence, then please ensure the circuit is intact and not shorting out and that the battery life is adequate.
  • Finally, if you think you may have a problem and are unsure of the point of entry, then consider installing a trail camera, which may reduce unnecessary travel.
I have seen people acting in breach of the regulations and/or evidence of poaching, pollution and potential fish theft. I wish to report them, who should I contact?

Government advice is clear; travelling to fish is not deemed essential travel and therefore people fishing would contravene the current regulations. Enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of the police who can issue fines and can be contacted by calling 101. Fish theft is also a matter for the police.

Other matters, such as pollution and damage to fisheries, fall within the responsibilities of the Environment Agency and their incident hotline is 0800 80 70 60.

You can also contact the Angling Trust support line on the numbers listed in the section below. We can refer matters on to our Regional Enforcement Managers and the Environment Agency where appropriate.

Should you wish to inform us in writing by all means email us at admin@anglingtrust.net.

For full information and guidance on reporting please see our Fisheries Enforcement section.

Accreditation for necessary travel

The Angling Trust has produced this downloadable Summary and Accreditation Form for the use of angling clubs and fisheries.

Coronavirus – Summary and Accreditation

 

I own a commercial fishing tackle shop and at this time of year I would normally be collecting bait from the foreshore to store for sale in the winter season. If I am unable to do this now it will impact my business later in the year. Am I able to carry out this activity?

Whilst travelling for the purpose of recreational sea angling and related bait collection is clearly not permissible under the current Coronavirus restrictions, there are a range of activities deemed as essential for which travel is both required and lawful.

This has been confirmed by the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities on April 20th who has advised that:

“As with all commercial fishing, including shore-based activity classed as work, it is not suitable to be performed at home. Picking and digging bait is both a service to the wider community and the livelihood of people performing this work, including the shops and retailers who rely on bait digging throughout the rest of the angling year.”

IFCA and Angling Trust’s supporting advice is that such workers are able to carry on working as long as this work does not contravene the Government’s guidelines on social distancing and hygiene. Checking the Government’s updates on Covid-19 is highly recommended.

To clarify, if you are unable to conduct your business from home, Government advice is that you can still go to work.  This comes from sections four and five of the Government’s Coronavirus guidance.

This is for commercial bait diggers only. There is still no relaxation on non-essential activity or recreational anglers digging their own bait. As we are not able to fish presently we are not allowed to dig for bait.

NATIONAL GUIDANCE FOR SEA ANGLING BAIT DIGGING & COLLECTION – download PDF summary and accreditation form

Further support

North Region

Daniel Williams

Darren Birch

South Region

Dean Asplin

Clive Copeland

East Region

David Munt

07854 239 715
david.munt@anglingtrust.net 

 

James Roche

West Region

Dave Evans

Richard Hadley

Funding advice for angling organisations

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Sport England has announced a funding package to help sport and physical activity get through the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. The money can be used to help angling clubs cope with the short and long-term impact of the pandemic. The package is a combination of National Lottery and Government funding.

Key facts

  • £20 million available to provide immediate support to those who most need it.
  • Grants between £300 and £10,000 are available to help cover ongoing costs at a time when revenue has been affected.
  • New Angling Trust Club Helpline setup to access Sport England Community Emergency Fund.

The new Angling Trust Sport England Community Emergency Fund Helpline is here to assist angling clubs facing financial concerns so that when fishing can happen again angling will bounce-back and be ready to cater for the hundreds of thousands of anglers that are champing at the bit to go fishing again.

Click here to find out more

Small Business Grant Scheme

Funding of a one-off £10,000 grant, to help ongoing business costs, for all small business based in England that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief or your business already occupies property.

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Retail & Hospitality Grant Scheme

Funding up to £25,000 per property via a cash grant for businesses based in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Business Rate Holiday

The government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

  • Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

To be delivered by the British Business Bank, this new scheme will launch this week to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments, you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

You can use this scheme if you’re self employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.

The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. The scheme may be extended if needed.

How much you’ll get

If eligible, you will get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the last three tax years (where applicable):

To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable) and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

How to apply

You cannot apply for this scheme yet, HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Please do not contact HMRC now as by doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

For all the information about this funding scheme please follow the link below; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme 

Bounce Back Loans

The Government yesterday (27th April) announced a new 100% government backed Micro-loan scheme for small business to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Main points:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and a maximum £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • the government will pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months
  • no repayments will be due during the first 12 months
  • the government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

For further information please follow the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans

Sport Wales Emergency Relief Fund

Welsh angling clubs affected by the Coronavirus pandemic can apply for funding from the £400,000 Emergency Relief Fund set up by Sport Wales and the Welsh Government.

The fund is available for not-for-profit community sport in Wales and is targeted at clubs already facing significant challenges after a difficult few weeks and who are likely to need immediate financial support over the next 12 weeks (up to 30th June) if they are to remain an important part of their communities in the future. Each eligible club will be able to apply for a maximum of £5,000 and a minimum of £300.

Natural Resources Wales and Angling Cymru have confirmed that angling clubs are classed as not-for-profit community sport.

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic comes just weeks after many clubs in Wales were severely damaged by flooding caused by storms Dennis and Ciara.

The fund has been developed to help clubs that are unable to meet their financial obligations. For example, for fixed costs which are no longer supported with revenue as a result of coronavirus, the Emergency Relief Fund might cover expenditure on:

  • Rent
  • Utility costs
  • Insurances
  • Facility or equipment hire (where there is a fixed cost)
  • Activities or costs that cannot be covered by government funding sources
  • Clubs affected by recent flooding might also have capital costs or cleaning costs that they cannot pay for

Sport Wales say they expect applicants to have exhausted other sources of funding, in particular the emergency sources of funding and support being provided by Welsh Government or UK Government, and add that the fund cannot be used for retrospective costs incurred before the UK Government announcement of lockdown from 24th March.

Further information and how to apply

Our latest updates

Following further relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions in Wales, we've issued further FAQs regarding travel to and from the country.

Download the FAQs

Following representations by the Angling Trust, Angling Cymru and others, overnight fishing in Wales clarification has finally emerged giving the green light to night fishing.

Read the Angling Trust Statement

The Angling Trust worked with leading anglers and fisheries in the match angling community to deliver new guidelines to bring competition fishing in line with COVID-19 procedures. These have now received Government agreement to allow match fishing to resume.

Read the guidelines

Following the government's decision to allow competitive angling to resume, the Angling Trust has drawn up new guidelines to bring sea angling competitions in line with Covid-19 procedures.

Read the Sea Competition guidelines

Fishing to start again from 13 May 2020 - find out more and read our guidance for anglers, clubs, fisheries, coaches & guides.

Find out more

Clubmate to help angling clubs deal with member renewals during COVID-19 outbreak.

Find out more

In this Lines On The Water blog, Paul Coulson from the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) offers some important advice for fisheries.

Find out more

We've issued new FAQs following further easing of Covid-19 restrictions with effect from 4th July.

Download the FAQs

We've been working with leading fly fishing anglers and fisheries in the game competition community to draw up new guidelines to bring game competition fishing in line with COVID-19 procedures. These have now received Government agreement to allow match game fishing to resume.

Read the guidelines

Following further easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the Angling Trust and the Professional Boatman's Association have produced best practice guidelines for the safe resumption of Charter Boat fishing.

Read the guidelines

Find out more about our proposal to Government to get us fishing safely again.

Find out more

Sport England Community Emergency Fund to provide financial support for community sport organisations including angling clubs.

Find out more and apply

The Federation of Small Businesses has a great resource hub for small business owners and the self-employed.

Find out more

 

Following the government's decision to allow competitive angling to resume, the Angling Trust has drawn up new guidelines to bring lure angling competitions in line with Covid-19 procedures.

Read Lure Competitions Guidelines

 

Night Fishing: National guidance for anglers, angling clubs and fisheries issued by the Angling Trust on 14th May, 2020.

Download Night Fishing Guidance

Check our new site fishingbuzz.co.uk - curated, daily content for you to feed your love for fishing whilst indoors!

View resources

 

Our FAQs for clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations have been updated and now includes a downloadable Accreditation Form for club bailiffs and volunteers.

Read the FAQs

More information about the Self Employment Income Support scheme and how to make a claim.

Find out more