This years ambitious plans to host a National Festival of Fishing have recieved an enormous boost, as the sports governing bodies announce their support.
Over half a million people are expected to take part in the event this year which begins on the 21st July with National Fishing week and carries on right throughout the summer holidays with the ‘Take a friend fishing Campaign’.
Sean O’Driscoll, the chairman of the Angling Trades Association, (ATA), who are responsible for delivering this initiative on behalf of the industry, had this to say, ‘ we are delighted with the news that the NFA, NFSA, S&TA and FACT are all committed to this years plans. The objective of this campaign is simply to introduce large numbers of non-anglers or lapsed anglers into our sport, irrespective of the discipline’.
It is clear to all parties that angling, like many other traditional sports, is suffering from a lack of newcomers. ‘There are so many alternative sports and pastimes available to all ages’ said Paul Bagaley, the chief executive of the National Federation of Anglers, (NFA), who went on to say, ‘participation campaigns such as National Fishing Week and Take a Friend Fishing are key to the health of the sport. We at the NFA are extremely committed to such campaigns and our Clubs & Coaches are being encouraged to participate every step of the way’.
National Fishing Week for many years was recognised as a coarse fishing campaign, but since the ATA’s involvement it is becoming the participation event for the whole industry. David Rowe from the National Federation of Sea Anglers, NFSA, commented, ‘the NFSA had little to do with National Fishing Week until about 3 years ago. We had always created our own participation events; however being part of the whole media bandwagon that surrounds this National campaign definitely benefits our clubs, coaches and members enormously. We are very proud to be part of National Fishing Week and will also be encouraging as many of our members to take a friend fishing during August’.
Like everything in life these days, the Internet is making a big difference. The speed at which information can be relayed across all sectors of the industry is such a benefit, Paul Knight of the Salmon & Trout Association made this very valid point, ‘in previous decades it was often more difficult, cumbersome and expensive to activate effective campaigns with our own members, let alone members and fellow enthusiasts from the Coarse or Sea sectors. Now all we do is have a brief conversation, send an email, attachment and website link and within no time at all, we know what is happening, where when and how.
We are able to communicate so much better and this is having a positive effect on the industry’.
Richard Wightman from the Environment Agency, who continue to pledge both monetary and grass root support for these initiatives is delighted with this news and said, ‘I am delighted to see so much cooperation and interaction between the sectors of angling. This will have a positive impact on the sport this summer and should introduce many newcomers to the environment of Great Britain.’