Over 200 anglers were brought in front of the courts by the Environment Agency in May for fishing without a valid rod licence, resulting in more than £35,000 in fines and costs. Guilty defendants had to fork out an average of £150 each – the equivalent of buying a coarse rod licence six times over.
Dafydd Evans, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “Our enforcement officers target rivers, lakes and other waters where we believe cheats are present, and we are better equipped than ever. With access to databases at the switch of a mobile phone they can verify address and licence details, making it easier to catch licence evaders.
“A number of anglers believed a licence was valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. This is not the case. All rod licences expire on 31 March. To make the most of your licence, renew it soon and maximise its use for the year. Failure to have valid rod licence is an offence.”
Last year, the Environment Agency invested approximately £30 million in improving fish stocks and angling opportunities, with some £20 million of this coming from rod licence fees. The money raised through rod licence sales is invested directly in fisheries work that benefits all anglers.
Fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish and eels in England and Wales and the Border Esk in Scotland requires a licence from the Environment Agency. Those caught fishing illegally face tough penalties, including fines of up to £2,500 and a ban from fishing. 
Our new charges for rod licences for 2008-09 financial year have now come into effect. For 2008/09 a full season coarse and trout fishing licence costs just £25.00 and a salmon and sea trout licence costs £68.00. There is also a range of concessionary, junior, eight day and one day licences available.
Buying a new licence couldn’t be easier – around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets sell them; a direct debit can be set up, and they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence <http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence> any time, day or night.


Region            Defendants prosecuted       Total fines      Total costs     Cautions
Anglian                      46                                £6,095              £3,290              0
Midlands                    45                                £2,775              £2,780              0
North East                 17                                £1,340              £1,175              1
North West                14                                £825                 £1,025              0
Southern                    14                                £945                  £865                0         
South West                12                                £795                  £900                0
Thames                       78                                £7,475              £5,293             0         
Wales                           2                                 £250                  £145                0
Total                           228                               £20,500             £15,473          1