The Environment Agency has announced a major shake-up of rod licence regulations which include a free rod licence for junior anglers in a move which it is hoped will encourage more young people to give fishing a go and secure the future of the sport.
Although the junior licence will be free, juniors will still need to register to receive it before going to fish.
Other moves include a rolling rod licence that lasts for 365 days from the day of purchase rather than running until the end of March regardless of when it was bought.
A third change is one which carp and specimen anglers have long campaigned for: the ability to fish three rods under one licence, rather than having to purchase a second licence to fish three rods.
However, these improvements come with a price as there will be some increases to standard charges including the cost of a coarse fishing licence which has been raised from £27.00 to £30.00. The Environment Agency says this is the first time the cost of a rod licence has increased since 2010 and all additional income generated will all go back into improving fisheries and services for anglers.
Sarah Chare, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: "These exciting changes reflect feedback from our customers. We hope that a 365 day licence, a three-rod licence and a free junior licence can all play an important part in getting more young people fishing and securing the future of the sport."
The changes were also welcomed by The Angling Trust whose Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: "The Angling Trust lobbied the Environment Agency to make these changes to the rod licence system as many of the carp and specimen anglers we represent had complained about the need for them to buy two separate licences, for four rods, when they wanted to fish with three, so the new extra rod licence option is very welcome indeed.
"We also wanted a free junior licence as this removes a significant barrier to participation for young people considering taking up the sport. Well done to the Environment Agency for listening and taking anglers' concerns on board."
Another change to the pricing structure is the ability to upgrade from a one or eight day licence to a full licence with the price already paid for the one or eight day being deducted from the cost of the 12 month licence. This is to encourage more people to keep fishing once they have tried it and make it cheaper for anglers who currently buy several short term licences.
The changes come into effect in March 2017 with new licences valid from 1 April.
The Environment Agency reminded anglers that a valid rod licence is a legal requirement for fishing and that anyone caught fishing without one can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record. Last year in England, the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.
Salmon and Sea Trout
Go back to the News Index
Go back to Fisheries homepage