The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the world, causing economic, social, and environmental disruptions. While the pandemic has had some negative consequences, it has also highlighted the importance of engaging in outdoor recreational activities, such as angling, for maintaining mental health and reducing stress. A recent study by Emil Andrzej Karpiński and Andrzej Robert Skrzypczak explores the behavior of recreational anglers during the pandemic and the factors that influence their attitudes towards fishing.
The study found that 63.8% of anglers felt that fishing helped reduce their pandemic-related stress, and nearly 98% believed there was no risk of infection from engaging in the activity. This positive association was strongest among those who preferred fishing with friends and family and those who frequently fished. During the pandemic, over 26% of respondents reported an increase in their angling frequency, driven by factors such as having more free time and wanting to escape the constant media coverage of the pandemic.
While the benefits of angling for stress reduction are evident, the study also acknowledges the potential increase in pressure on environmental resources used by anglers. Policymakers should consider these factors when deciding whether to restrict access to recreational fishing during future lockdowns. The researchers argue that imposing restrictions on fishing access would be unwise given the positive effects of angling on mental health. Instead, they suggest implementing best management practices to reduce sanitary bottlenecks and increase safety on fishing grounds.
Engaging in outdoor recreation, including fishing, has been proven to affect mental health and reduce stress positively. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, these benefits are significant for coping with our challenges and uncertainties. While weighing the potential environmental impacts of increased angling activity is crucial, the mental health benefits should be considered.
The study's findings emphasize the role of angling in reducing pandemic-related stress and its potential positive impact on mental health. Policymakers should consider these benefits when accessing recreational fishing during future lockdowns. However, more research is needed to understand the environmental implications of increased angling activity during the pandemic. By exploring these issues, we can ensure that the therapeutic benefits of angling are balanced with the need to protect our environment and natural resources.
Read the entire study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8998353/pdf/ijerph-19-04346.pdf