to DEFRA figures a record 130,000 rod licences have been bought by children in the 12-16 age group for this season* – 30,000 more than last season and over 110,000 more than the 1999-2000 season.


Campaign for Angling Director Charles Jardine commented: “I am absolutely delighted by this meteoric rise in angling’s popularity with the young. In an age where computer games and televisions seem to rule children’s lives, it is encouraging to see this upsurge of interest in the sport and the natural world. We are certainly doing all we can to promote angling amongst the young and to teach them the numerous environmental and social benefits it brings.


“In 2002 we launched “Water Matters”, an education pack for schools, and its popularity certainly bears out this increase in numbers of licences sold. The Campaign also focuses on bringing young people into angling: young country sports days such as a recent event for urban youngsters at Syon Park in London have illustrated and channelled the high levels of enthusiasm kids have for angling.


“To secure the best possible future for angling, however, the Government must acknowledge and reflect this increasing popularity with better funding and facilities. Under the current funding strategy angling groups must compete with football, athletics and other competitive sports for Sport England funding. Angling is clearly in a different category and the unique social and environmental benefits of the different forms of fishing can only be fully realised with properly directed Government funding. Kids want to get into angling – let’s show them how and make it easy for them to do so”.