I am sure that you will all by now be aware that the Scottish Government has decided, based on their scientific advice, that the time is not yet right to lift the current lock-down restrictions in Scotland, other than to allow individuals to spend more time exercising.
It is also clear from the communications that we are receiving, and the posts that we are seeing across various social media platforms, that the divergence between the position of the UK Government, which only applies in England, and that of the Scottish Government is causing some confusion and frustration. For the avoidance of doubt, the lifting of lock-down restrictions is a devolved matter.
Most of you will have listened to the First Minister earlier this evening and the very strong arguments she made for taking a cautious approach and for retaining the simple, clear and unambiguous message of ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. While we fully understand that some anglers will be frustrated that they are unable to resume fishing just yet, and that this feeling will be compounded by seeing anglers in England do so from this Wednesday, we must all remain patient! Scotland is not alone in taking this precautionary approach, the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland have done the same.
Angling Scotland and the three SGBs have supported the Government position throughout the COVID-19 crisis and continue to do so. We also continue to engage with Scottish Ministers to push the benefits of our Proposal to Re-Open Scottish Angling, at the earliest opportunity, and to ensure that angling is considered alongside other low risk outdoor activities as soon as the time is right to relax the current restrictions. Until then, you can all help to strengthen our case by following the Government advice and Staying Home, Protecting the NHS and helping to Save Lives.
The latest Scottish Government advice, including detailed guidance on what constitutes permitted exercise can be found on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/pages/exercise/.
We will continue to post updates as and when we receive more information.
Gus Brindle, Chairman SFCA