Fishing for Everyone hopes to provide recreational fishing for the whole community, including those with a profound disability, the elderly and the very young. It hopes to provide a venue where they can interact and participate in a common interest. Fishing provides nature-based recreation suited to people with disabilities- it also provides social, physiological and psychological benefits; while disabled people may face more constraints than their more abled counterparts, motivators for fishing are the same for both groups (Freudenberg and Arlinghaus 2009).
The level of physical activity in children and adolescents is declining at an alarming rate (Cleland, Timperio et al. 2009) resulting in what has been termed as a ‘physical inactivity epidemic‘ (as opposed to an obesity epidemic). There are many examples of increased sedentary behaviour in children, for example, it is estimated that one third of UK children aged 5 to12 years use electronic media such as television, computer and electronic games for more than two hours every day (Spinks, Macpherson et al. 2007; Wen, Kite et al. 2009). Another study revealed that 37% of children aged 10-12 years spent less than half an hour a day playing outside after school. The lack of physical activity and the replacement of outdoor play with electronic leisure, place children at a greater risk for obesity and related adverse health effects. Increased social opportunities, parental encouragement and parental supervision are required to promote safe outdoor activity (including fishing) to children over 5 years old (Cleland, Timperio et al. 2009).
The physiological, psychological and social benefits that fishing provides are widely recognised, but are inherently difficult to quantify. As an outdoor pursuit that can be enjoyed throughout life, it is important that the fishing sector is recognised for its promotion of health and well-being. Specific benefits include: a positive impact on mental health; perceived well-being and prevention of chronic disease with reductions in health care burden. These and other factors need to be considered as part of the true value of this project.