THE Government has put up the 'no fishing' signs, confirms the Angling Trust.

Fishing will not be allowed in England during the current Covid-19 national lockdown.

Angling was the first recreational activity allowed to return to action during the first lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic, and the sport was given the nod to continue during the November lockdown.

But the suspension reflects how serious the situation surrounding the second strain of Covid-19 is being taken.

"Whilst the regulations have not yet been published we have been informed this evening by the Cabinet Office that the Government have taken the decision that fishing in England will not be permitted during this national lockdown period," said Jamie Cook, chief executive of the governing body, the Angling Trust.

"Whilst this is disappointing news I would ask anglers, fisheries and clubs to respect these rules and the reason they have been put in place; to help save lives and support the NHS.

"Individuals should not go fishing from midnight tonight (January 5) and clubs and fisheries should close their waters to anglers. We will be publishing more detailed guidance on specific areas like bailiffing and fishery maintenance once the Government regulations have been published."

Cook outlined that the case for fishing to continue had been presented.

"Over the past few weeks we have been in communication with the Government at the highest possible level," he explained.

"We have presented a strong case on how fishing could continue safely during the third national lockdown.

"We have explained that fishing benefits physical health and mental wellbeing and that it is regularly the only form of activity individuals undertake.

"My team and I have consistently presented the arguments ahead of the changing Government guidelines, which have allowed fishing to remain permitted continuously since the first national lockdown was lifted in May.

"We have been successful when other sports have not as all anglers will know.

"However, with 60,000 new infections announced today, the Government have taken the decision that leaving home for recreation or leisure, including all forms of recreational fishing, should be prohibited in England during this third national lockdown period."

And in a message to members he said: "I thank you for your support and for being a credit to our sport. As members, you can rest assured that the Angling Trust will continue to represent our sport at the highest level and will present proposals for the resumption of angling when it is safe and sensible to do so.

"We will come through this period of national crisis. We will fish again, but until then, please, stay safe."