If you bought someone aged 12 years old or over a fishing rod for Christmas, make sure they have a valid rod licence before they try it out. The reminder comes as nearly 300 anglers were prosecuted by the Environment Agency in December, resulting in more than £44,000 in fines and costs.  


“Fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish and eels in England and Wales requires a licence from the Environment Agency. Failure to have a licence is an offence. Those caught fishing illegally face tough penalties, including fines of up to £2,500 and a ban from fishing. This time around the courts fined the illegal anglers a total of £23,845 and charged them an additional £20,821 in costs,” explained Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dafydd Evans.


“The protection of vulnerable fish stocks and increasing fishing participation are among the Environment Agency’s key environmental objectives. The money raised through rod licence sales; some £19m, is invested directly in fisheries work that benefits all anglers.” 


Rod licences expire on March 31, 2007. Buying a new licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them; a direct debit can be set up, and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or from our web site – www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence any time, day or night.


Breakdown of prosecutions figures by Environment Agency region shown below.


Region  Defendants prosecuted Total fines         Total costs

Anglian             16                                 £998                 £922

Midlands                       46                                 £3,874              £2,750

North East                    30                                 £1,640              £2,015

North West                    64                                 £3,870              £3,865

Southern                       22                                 £1,565              £1,205

South West                   31                                 £3,340              £4,764

Thames             48                                 £5,178              £3,190

Wales                           37                                 £3,380              £2,110

Total                             294                               £23,845 £20,821