The Environment Agency today (Monday) announced its plans to attract an extra 200,000 people to fishing in the next 10 years.

Outlined in Angling in 2015, the Environment Agency sets out its plans for the sport and how it will work to increase the social and economic benefits angling provides over the next decade.

Dafydd Evans, Head of Fisheries for the Environment Agency said: “Over 4 million people go fishing in England and Wales already – this means another 4 million people interested in protecting our environment while at the same time making a significant economic and social contribution.

“Fishing has created 20,000 jobs and a total of up to 2.75 billion is spent on the sport every year. We want to encourage more people to enjoy water related recreation – fishing is a great way to do that.

“Fishing can also be a great way of tackling anti-social behaviour, educational under-achievement and youth crime. Through Angling in 2015 we aim to help more people from more backgrounds enjoy the simple pleasures of going fishing, and at the same time help them appreciate and protect their environment. “

Research has shown women express high levels of interest in angling but only make up about 5% of people buying rod licences, compared to the USA where 26% of anglers are women. Research also shows that while one in five young people aged 12-16 have fished in the past two years, as many again would like to try the sport, and that it holds its overall attraction as a favoured sport among people with disabilities. Yet, while interest is there, few women or people from black and minority ethnic communities are taking up the sport. Angling in 2015 wants to turn this interest in angling into actual participation.

Key aims outlined in the document include:

  • More people from a wider range of backgrounds fishing
  • Improved information about angling, where to go and how to start
  • Better performing fisheries helping angling to carry on growing as a sport

“Fishing can take you to some of our most beautiful places and give you privileged close-ups of our rarest and most interesting wildlife. It’s also a great introduction to the environment and wildlife for inner city people,” Dafydd Evans said.

Last year the Environment Agency invested £100,000 in angling participation projects, which included 600 taster sessions in partnership with other associations, such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Sportsmatch and the tackle trade.

“We aim to help raise awareness of angling as a mainstream and healthy outdoor pursuit and to help more people find out what it can do for them. Angling in 2015 will help those who have very limited access to angling to get out in their environment and have a got at fishing,” Dafydd Evans said.

Angling in 2015
is available from the Environment Agency website; <> and case studies are available from the press office.