The Strategic Review of Angling 2013
A love for the natural environment, special landscapes, secret places, fantastic coastlines and the wildlife that inhabits them, is a strong part of the fabric and culture of life in Northern Ireland and the value of the outdoors to go to for recreation, relaxation and enjoyment is well documented and researched. However the potential of our water spaces to benefit local communities and visitors through opportunities they present for angling is perhaps less well understood.
Sport Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in partnership with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Loughs Agency have been working together with the National Governing Bodies that represent fishing clubs to see what can be done to give angling a boost and get more people active. The overall aim of the review of angling that is taking place is to provide information on participation in angling in Northern Ireland and to identify the opportunities and constraints to the further development of angling for local people and as a means to boost tourism in Northern Ireland. It is intended that the review will provide the information that will enable the development of a strategic action plan for angling in Northern Ireland that has cross agency support.
G & L Hughes Ltd, a consultancy firm that specialises in strategic planning for outdoor sport and recreation, was appointed in March to examine ways that game, coarse and sea angling might best be developed in Northern Ireland. A number of issues and challenges have been identified from initial research and consultations.
The research has shown the social, educational and community benefits of angling, but there are issues associated with governance of the activity and the difficulties of access to information faced by the tourism industry in marketing the Province for the different aspects of the sport.
A wide range of individuals and groups with an interest in the activity have already fed in comments to help to inform new approaches to the development of angling.
The next key stage of the review was to discuss the issues raised to date in order to develop key recommendations. This was done through a series of consultation meetings where all those with an interest in the activity are encouraged to attend.
The meetings focused on the issues from the perspective of those bodies that provide or manage fisheries or who have an involvement in managing water resources such as landowners, angling businesses, local authorities or agencies. The evening meetings were aimed at ensuring the needs of individual anglers, clubs and other voluntary groups are given full consideration.
The consultation period has now closed and a report on the findings will be published on this page when available.