Environment Agency fishing figures for the first part of the year show adult rod licence sales up by 22 per cent on 2001, junior licences up 33 per cent and evasion rates in the latest blitz down 1.1 per cent on the previous month.

Internet sales leapt by 280 per cent over this period, a figure which doesn’t include the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend peak! And none of the statistics include Direct Debit sales which will push the final figures even higher once they have been collated.

Dr Dave Clarke, the Agency’s Head of Fisheries said:

“This is great news for the sport. Income for adult licences alone had reached £9million by the end of May. This money will be reinvested in our waters and fisheries for the benefit of all. Now, with the summer holidays almost upon us we’re hoping to see the number of sales continue to grow.

“There are number of reasons for this. Anglers are really backing the sport, they know the price they pay for a licence isn’t a fee – it’s an investment in the pastime they love.

“And buying a licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 17,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them direct; and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or from our web site (via the link on the right) allowing them to obtain a licence immediately.”

The latest blitz (carried out between June 16 and 22) is one in a series of national compliance campaigns. Agency officers visited more waters than in the previous May clampdown and checked more licences.

Yet the evasion rate was down from May’s 6.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent. Anyone caught fishing without a valid licence faces a fine of up to £2,500.

  • Total number of licences sold to 19 May: 537,352, are up 22% on the same period last year, 2001, (note 2001 was affected by Foot & Mouth). Number sold to 29 May up 8.8% on the same period in 2000.
  • Sales of coarse/trout licences up 5.9% on 2000, excluding Direct Debit sales for which no breakdown available yet.
  • Sales of salmon licences down 1.8% on 2000, excluding Direct Debit sales for which no breakdown available yet, so these are likely to be back to the level of two years ago.
  • Sales of Junior licences up by 33 percent on sales in 2001 for the same period – comparison with 2000 not possible as lower rate of £5 for juniors introduced last year.
  • Biggest increases in licence sales are in Southern, North East, South West and Thames.
  • Wales and NW least encouraging (but note NW made strong gains in earlier years).
  • Midlands and Anglian in particular will have performed better than indicated as these were the trial regions for Direct Debit (not included yet in regional breakdown).
  • Internet sales for this period up by 280% to 15,959. They subsequently had a peak over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend – not included in these figures.