COMMENT: This is very questionable but I acccept it. In the UK people have to remain at home during the current lockdown because the NHS is about to be overwhelmed by people infected with the coronavirus. It’s desperate days although some people don’t believe it. The government has instigated new rules and you can only leave home to shop for basic supplies such as food and medicine, to exercise just once a day (e.g. walk with a friend outside), for a medical need or to provide care to someone else and to travel to and from work if you have to go to a workplace rather than work at home.
Within these tight rules it’s been decided that fishing will be permitted in England (these rules apply to England because of devolved powers to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). The government accepted that it was a form of exercise.
The leaders of the Angling Trust argue that Angling is good for health and well-being. Although there must be no match fishing or overnight fishing. The chief executive of the Angling Trust warned, “We as anglers have a duty to abide by the strict conditions.”
Comment: it is hard to see angling as exercise. A definition of exercise is, according to Wikipedia, “any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness”.
I suspect that the last bit of that definition applies, however. Because fishing is good for mental health and therefore good for overall wellness. It’s being outside in nature. This by itself is beneficial. But there is not much is physical activity unless you count pouring tea from a thermos flask as exercise.
However, let’s remind ourselves that in the animal-human relationship, fishing is cruel. I know many people will find that remark silly but it’s true. It’s been proved scientifically that fish feel pain. In the future, perhaps a long time in the future, fishing will be banned under animal welfare laws. You can’t have people entertaining themselves at the expense of animal cruelty. The equation does not work. It’s immoral. It’s just a question of time before people accept it because humankind is on a road to being more civilised but there is a long road ahead.