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News article created on 4 September 2014

Our first national canal angling survey results revealed

We've published the findings of our first ever national survey of inland waterway angling clubs aimed at improving and growing angling on our historic waterway network.

We've spoken to over 200 angling clubs - representing around 60,000 members - to get a better understanding of their needs and to identify ways in which, together, they can encourage more people to try angling on the nation’s historic canals and rivers.

In a series of telephone interviews, conducted by a third party research agency, clubs were asked questions ranging from details of their membership to their views on working with the Trust and how the relationship could be developed to get more people – particularly youngsters – involved.

Some of the key findings of the survey were:

  • Membership - around half of clubs reported static membership with 35% saying that their numbers are declining. 75% of clubs are keen to attract new members.
  • Juniors - Half of the clubs have junior members but no junior section. Around 40% of these clubs would welcome some help with coaching or education.
  • Events to attract new members - 63% of clubs do not run events of this kind, with around about a quarter of all clubs citing some kind of barrier e.g. insufficient resources, access / parking problems, a perception that there is little interest in angling in their area.
  • Volunteering - just under 30 clubs already volunteer with us. A similar number are interested in getting involved in the future. Almost all clubs are already involved to some degree in helping to maintain their local canal without the Trust’s involvement.
  • Working with the Canal & River Trust - Two-thirds of clubs would welcome help with improving access, parking and signage. Half of clubs would like us to help with tackling overgrowing vegetation and a similar number would like help in using social media to attract more young people. The vast majority of clubs were very favourable of the work of the our Fisheries & Angling team.

The findings of the survey are being fed into local fisheries and angling action plans, which will be trialled in the North East. Each plan will be very locally focussed and will consider areas such as stocking, access and parking, towpath management, water quality, fish passage and volunteering.

The aspiration is to work with clubs to develop initiatives which will help grow membership, attract funding to improve the angling offer/facilities and to attract new people to the sport. 

Simon Salem, marketing & fundraising director for the Trust said: “Angling is an important part of our network’s heritage, it’s almost as old as the canals themselves, but we want to ensure that it plays its part in securing a really bright future for the nation’s waterways.

“Angling clubs are right at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve as a Trust; encouraging people to take ownership of their local stretch and, importantly, getting more people - especially youngsters - involved.

“That’s why it’s so important that we build close relationships with clubs and give them the support they need to help bring a new generation of people into the sport and onto the waterways. A key part of our National Angling Strategy, this survey will help to give us information we need to start developing our local action plans.”

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said: “It’s great that the Canal & River Trust has taken the time and trouble to ask the clubs who fish on the waterways what they want to see done to protect and improve their fishing.  Anglers have noticed a significant change in attitude to angling since the formation of the Trust and we are now being recognised for the contribution we make to a vibrant waterway environment.  I am delighted that the Trust has developed its own version of our National Angling Strategy, and is working so closely with the Angling Trust at a national and local level to get more people fishing, more often.”

Take a look at the detailed findings from the survey