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Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed that the Public Angling Estate (PAE) will gradually re-open to local anglers from Monday.

Thirty PAE’s across Northern Ireland will re-open to the public for recreational use, but anglers should only use the DAERA facilities within their local area and should not travel long distances. Minister Poots also confirmed that car parking facilities will remain closed until 27 May 2020.

Speaking about the announcement, the Minister said: “In the interests of public health, I shut down the angling estate on 30 March, to discourage unnecessary journeys and protect my staff as well as anglers themselves, given that the majority are in the 50+ age bracket and many have concessionary angling licences due to underlying health issues.

“While car parks will remain closed until 27 May to discourage long journeys, I have decided to permit local anglers back on to the Public Angling Estate so that they can participate in their favourite recreational activity.

“By its nature, angling is a solo sport or hobby, and its participants can enjoy a day’s fishing without being in close contact with others. The sport has huge benefits for people’s mental and physical well-being and in this time of uncertainty, I know that many people have missed the solitude and peace that angling and being outdoors with nature, brings them.

“However, let me be clear – anglers must continue to follow social distancing guidelines, practice good hand hygiene and walk to their nearest PAE, fishing alone or with a member of their own household. I do not want to see crowds of people near the river banks and fisheries."