The Environment Agency (EA) has released its Fisheries Annual Report for 21/22 which details how and where fishing licence income is spent. During the financial year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 the EA sold 934,760 fishing licences which generated an income of £21,854,093. So how has this income helped promote fishing?
The report – available here – gives details on all the work the EA does with the support of a brilliant network of approximately 1000 partners. These include organisations involved in angling such as the Angling Trust, Canal & River Trust and Get Hooked on Fishing, as well as a large number of local angling clubs, fishery owners, local councils and charities. With the help of these partners, licence income is able to deliver far more as match funding helps ensure that every pound from the licence fee income is used to its full potential.
The report highlights a range of diverse actions where fishing licence income is invested, ranging from fisheries enforcement, habitat improvements and fish stocking, to fish stock surveys, responding to incidents and regulating fish movements to help prevent disease.
For example, in 2021/22, licence sales also helped to fund 30 fish pass projects and remove 16 weirs and barriers, opening up rivers to encourage the free movement of fish. Installing structures to bypass obstacles, such as weirs, allows fish to access new feeding areas and breeding ground to spawn successfully.
The annual report also outlines how Environment Agency Enforcement officers helped enforce fisheries regulations and protect fish stocks. In 2021/22, they checked 41,446 fishing licences, issued 1,936 offence reports and successfully prosecuted 726 anglers for fishing without a licence.
Fish restocking, which helps fish populations to recover following environmental incidents, is another vital piece of work made possible by licence income. In 2021/22 almost 627,495 coarse fish were stocked into rivers and still waters around the country. All of the fish were collected from the EA’s Fish Farm at Calverton in Nottingham and carefully transported using specialist equipment.
The Get Fishing campaign to get more people fishing more often is funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Angling Trust, and Sport England. Children under 13 do not need a licence, and licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free but you still need to register and receive a licence in order to go fishing. You can get a licence for the full year, for 8 days (ideal for holidays!) or just a day’s fishing.
NOTE: Although young children who are under 13 year old do not need a licence to fish, the person supervising them needs the proper fishing licence to take hold of the rod or to help the child fish with it.