“IT is good to see all the angling lobbies singing loud and singing with one voice” said Government Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, at the official press launch of National Fishing Week in Westminster.

“The popularity of angling has been rising steadily over recent years and I am certain National Fishing Week has been a major factor in that growth.  The Minister added that he saw angling as a socially inclusive pastime that can be enjoyed by young or old, male or female and people with disabilities. He concluded, “National Fishing Week is the ideal opportunity for anyone to try their hand at angling, alongside a professional coach, for little or no cost.”

Martin Salter MP, who has special responsibility for angling, echoed the Minister’s words and announced that he was personally helping to organise a National Fishing Week in his constituency in August. The Environment Agency’s Head of Fisheries Development, Dafydd Evans, affirmed the Agency’s backing for National Fishing Week and said that increasing the number of people taking up angling was an important component in maintaining and improving the quality of rivers and waterways in England and Wales.

National Fishing Week 2004 is the first to be sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, with Sportsmatch Funding, in a three-year sponsorship deal. John Douglas of the Royal Bank of Scotland said he was “delighted” his bank had been approached to sponsor the event, “when I was told the number of regular anglers in the UK (some 3 million) and the contribution to the economy they make, well, it was the easiest sponsorship decision I have ever had to make” he said.

National Fishing Week 2004 begins on 21st August and concludes on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August. Over 200 professional coaches will be at 100 nationwide venues over the ten day period.