The Environment Agency is set to award a landmark fisheries contract to the Angling Trust. This announcement follows a rigorous competitive process and is part of the continued drive towards greater partnership working leading to thriving fisheries and angling throughout England.

The three key overarching priorities of the contract are to increase participation amongst existing and new anglers, tackle illegal angling and manage a fund to improve angling facilities.
The contract will run for up to 4 years and is currently worth £1 million a year, although the value of the future contract may vary, depending on rod licence sales.

Key elements of the contract include:
• providing expert advice to clubs and fishery owners on how to identify and secure additional funding
• improving facilities at fisheries and clubs for anglers
• encouraging take-up among junior anglers and address the recent decline in this age group
• retaining and recruiting more anglers to go fishing
• exploring options to develop the voluntary bailiff scheme which has been piloted in the South East
• working with enforcement partners (including the police), club and fishery owners to clamp down on angling-related rural crime.

Sarah Chare, Environment Agency head of fisheries, said: “This contract marks a new era in how the Environment Agency will deliver our fisheries duties. By contracting and working with partners we will secure the best future for angling by playing to strengths and making rod licence income go further. It is what anglers deserve. We are delighted to be working with the Angling Trust on this endeavour.”

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this contract and our ambition is to go above and beyond the requirements of the contract wherever possible. Both organisations are committed to protecting and improving freshwater angling by tackling the issues identified by anglers as part of the National Angling Strategy. The Angling Trust offers a very cost-effective way of delivering this work because of our extensive network and unique access to match funding.”

The contract has match funding clauses meaning that rod licence money goes further and the best possible service and value for anglers is delivered, for example through working with Sport England.

Advertised through the Official Journal of the European Union, interested organisations expressed initial interest earlier this year. Applicants were then asked to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire to ensure they were suitable to be formally invited to tender for the work.