SCOTLAND'S ANGLERS have welcomed the news that their pastime is to be among the first wave of activities permitted under the country's phased exit from lockdown, starting on May 28.

Charlie Whelan, angler and ambassador for the SGA Fishing Group, a stand-alone arm of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said: “This is a welcome announcement by Nicola Sturgeon. Many anglers have been looking on enviously at images of people on the banks in England and Wales and, although the Spring season has been lost and some may feel they could have returned sooner, the fishing community has been wholly respectful of the virus, the government’s advice and the wellbeing of local communities.

“Fisheries should now take the time to ensure local angling can be participated in safely on their waters. Many people will benefit from getting back on the banks again, both physically and mentally, and it will help to maintain the interest of young people which is vital for the future of the activity in this country," said Mr Whelan.

“This is also an initial but tentative step forward for the wider country sports industry which is facing great uncertainty. However, with support and co-operation from Scottish Government, the sector could be pivotal in driving economic recovery in some of Scotland’s remotest places, when it is deemed safe to do so. Country sports, including angling, generate around £315million a year for the economy and sustain thousands of jobs in areas which, analysis suggests, will be disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus trading restrictions.”