MORE people are going fishing according to the Environment Agency’s latest statistics of the number of rod licences sold.

In a recent report the EA says that sales of rod licences for the first part of the year were 22 per cent higher than for the equivalent period last year. It was expected that this figure could well grow, once direct debit sales have been included and the peak in sales over the golden jubilee bank holiday weekend is taken into account.

A number of reasons have been put forward for the increase. Active licence promotion by the EA and a crackdown on licence evasion have played a part; while the greater availability of purpose-built, high quality stillwater fisheries has also been an important contributory factor. A halving in the price of a junior licence has proved popular, with a 33 per cent increase in sales.

The report is further good news for the industry following the EA’s research earlier in the year, which highlighted the potential for the market to double. The findings confirmed that while nine per cent of the population of England and Wales had fished at least once in freshwater in the last two years, a further eight per cent were either very interested or quite interested in taking up angling.

Roger Smith, the chairman of the Angling Trades Association, welcomed the news: “I am delighted by the finding of the recent reports. Angling brings many important benefits to its participants by helping to forge friendships, engendering interest in and respect for the environment and providing the ideal means of unwinding from the pressure of modern life.”

He added: “The increase in angler numbers justifies the ATA’s concerted campaigns to promote the sport to all. There are not many other social activities where people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ages are brought together for one common goal. This is just one of the key benefits that our sport has on society as a whole.”


Tackle and Guns