When the pandemic is over and when we are free to go out and about once more, things, we are told, will be different. The economy will change; well it’s certainly running down, the Government paying the wages of some 9 million furloughed workers, businesses including fisheries shut down with support available for those that qualify. Will the effects be permanent or will everything bounce back in Boris-bouncing fashion?
Will behaviour change? Will we be cycling more and abandoning the tank-sized four-by-fours that hog two spaces in the supermarket car park? Will the relative quiet on the roads persist when the lockdown’s over? Or will everyone leap from their homes straight into their cars and head down the shops, parks, rivers, beauty spots?
What of global warming? If Covid-19 doesn’t get us climate change certainly will, unless we do something about it. Now that we have seen how easily we can be wiped out, will we wake up and do something about the wellbeing of our world? Will we take the prospect of future pandemics seriously? Are we prepared to demand of our inept government, so heedless, so slow to react to the danger, that the country prepares properly for the next epidemic? And there will be a next.
And what of anglers and angling? I’ve already noted the politics of too many fishermen — the politics that insists the climate is not warming, that environmentalism is a left-wing plot, that they are blameless freedom lovers who do no harm. The sea anglers who think it’s fine to kill species of diminishing stocks; the coarse fishermen who use pellets made from sea fish to catch farmed carp in large stock ponds; the fly anglers who catch trout fed on the same pellets, who demand salmon rivers are restocked in disregard of the research that says this is not the answer. And will those same fly anglers continue to consume large quantities of aviation fuel through long-haul flights to cast a line in far-flung countries? The new edition of Salmo Trutta, the magazine of the Wild Trout Trust, has no fewer than three articles on foreign destinations: Charles Rangeley-Wilson, WTT founder and globe trotter, goes to New Zealand, 23 hours flight time away; Theo Pike, another WTT man, has an all-expenses-paid jolly to America; while Adrian Latimer, who has clocked up more air miles than a shoal of flying fish, ends up in Iceland, coincidentally the country whose volcano cleared the British skies in 2010 even more effectively than the coronavirus in 2020.
The way things are looking for the airlines, such trips may at least be a lot more expensive in future. Paying the true cost of pollution? But will the WTT continue to encourage activity that speeds global warming and ultimately damages the trout’s habitat, a cold-water fish? Or will it become truly a conservation outfit?
Interesting questions. Will we be doing anything different?