The Natural Environment – What's Your Line?


On the eve of the Angling Trust’s National Fishing Week (24 July – 2 Aug) – designed to encourage newcomers to take up fishing – Natural England has highlighted the important role that angling often plays in inspiring an appreciation of the natural environment and the need to look after it.

Helen Phillips, Natural England’s Chief Executive, said “So often, a love of angling goes hand in hand with a love of nature. Anglers are well placed to enjoy first-hand the diversity of flora, fauna and wildlife that lives and breeds in our rivers and freshwater outlets, and National Fishing Week is a great way to encourage people to get out into the natural environment and enjoy it first-hand”.

An appreciation for all types of angling can raise awareness and increase respect for the many different kinds of wildlife that depend on fish for nourishment and survival – from mammals and birds to insects. Equally, it can generate support to campaign for better quality freshwater which will establish healthy breeding and spawning grounds for fish and amphibians.

Helen Phillips continued: “We welcome the way in which National Fishing Week is encouraging people who have never taken up the sport to get involved. Angling provides a range of economic, social and environmental benefits – but it is often the backdrop to the sport which is quietly appreciated by those who participate: the flash of kingfisher blue, the call of the green sandpiper or the yellow brilliance of the marsh marigold. Being surrounded by tranquil beauty can instill an abiding love of nature, and lead to a lifelong desire to care for it and protect it.”

Helen Phillips also highlighted the interest that all anglers have in sustaining high quality river and lake habitats: “Maintaining water quality is vital for both people and wildlife in this country; and many of the landscape restoration and river restoration programmes carried out by Natural England have a direct impact on improving river habitats and the health of river wildlife, including natural fish stocks”. 

For example, Natural England is leading the STREAM and Living River projects, which benefit the wildlife and landscapes in and around the main tributaries and river valleys of the River Avon in Wiltshire – one of the best river systems for wildlife in the UK. Natural England is also actively involved in securing a better deal for our seas, by helping to shape the Marine and Coastal Bill that is currently working its way through Parliament. The marine environment, ocean wildlife and undersea landscapes are as precious a resource and eco-system as the rivers and waterways are on land.