Centre for Rural Economy


Angling in the Rural Environment

Nearly 4 million anglers contribute an estimated £6 billion to the UK economy every year

Such leisure activity would be increasingly important as the rural economy and its land uses moved from being dominated by production (agriculture, forestry) to being dominated by consumption (leisure, tourism). But rivers were under further pressure from other human activities so their ability to sustain flora and fauna may be at risk. This project analysed the complex natural and socioeconomic inter-linkages between river, fishing, biodiversity and institutions of governance and practice. Results would be used to inform policy on integrated development of the rural river environment. The Rivers Esk, Swale and Ure were selected as study sites. These catchments showed some environmental degradation affecting aquatic biodiversity including fishes; included distinct types of angling; and demonstrated different social organisations of angling and access by different socioeconomic groups. Regulatory change planned through the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and changes in delivery of rural services (Haskins Report) made the river catchment an appropriate and challenging scale of study for policy development and end user needs.

The research was holistic, drawing researchers from natural and social scientific disciplines—ecological and earth sciences, anthropology, social economics and cultural geography—as well as stakeholders from government, NGOs, and the local community into a common dialogue. The research was managed from the Centre of Rural Economy at Newcastle University and involved the Departments of Geography, Anthropology and Biological Sciences at Durham University and the Department of Geography at Hull. The project began on March 1st 2006 and ran for three years. The research was funded by the Joint Research Councils UK through the RELU programme for further information on the project or to be kept informed of its progress please contact Dr. Elizabeth Oughton at elizabeth.oughton@ncl.ac.uk