Lines On The Water

Fisheries Annual Report: How your rod licence fee improves angling

In this guest blog presented by the Environment Agency, we highlight the latest Fisheries Annual Report which sets out how an angler’s rod licence fee is used to improve the sport.

One of the most common questions you may hear any angler ask is, “What do I actually get for my licence fee?” The answer to this can be found in the Environment Agency’s (EA) Fisheries Annual Report 2022 to 2023, which was published just before Christmas.

The latest report details that between 1st April 2022 and 31st March 2023, 903,216 fishing licences were sold which generated an income of £20,900,000 which was reinvested into the fisheries service. This helped deliver:

  • 455,439 coarse fish supplied and stocked into rivers and stillwaters.
  • Work with over 1,000 different project partners.
  • 14 fish pass solutions and removal of 11 weirs and barriers.
  • Habitat improvements for fish on 347 kilometres of rivers and protection of habitats for fish on 305km of rivers.
  • 237 hectares of stillwater fisheries enhancements.
  • 39,159 fishing licences checks.
  • 265 successful prosecutions.
  • A response to 407 fisheries incidents involving dead or dying fish
  • 1,200 fish stock surveys.

Fish and habitat monitoring helps the Environment Agency to plan future improvement programmes

These are just some of the headline figures which provide part of the answer to “What do I actually get for my licence fee?” However, delve further into the report and it is apparent that the relatively small investment an angler makes into an annual or short-term fishing licence is absolutely vital in funding the EA’s fisheries service which protects and develops fishing and fisheries across England.

The EA’s fisheries service is made up a number of constituent parts. There is the EA’s Area fisheries teams who provide the frontline service offering fisheries management advice to clubs and fisheries, providing incident response and undertaking enforcement duties. This includes the EA’s Calverton Fish Farm which regularly stocks over 500,000 fish into rivers and stillwaters each year.

There are then National teams which have a remit to provide services to customers across the whole of England, including the National Fisheries Laboratory, National Enforcement Service, Fisheries monitoring and specialist teams working on a wide range of activities, such as fish passage, fish introductions and non-native species.

We also use fishing licence money to work in partnership with other like-minded groups and organisations. This means we can maximise fishing licence income through matched funding and do more with our customers’ investment and therefore provide better fisheries outcomes. In 2022 to 2023 we worked with over 1000 partners including the Angling Trust, Wild Trout Trust, Institute of Fisheries Management, Riverfly partnership, local river trusts, angling clubs, charities and others. Working on projects to improve fish stocks and habitats, providing new facilities for anglers and making fisheries more accessible, promoting angling and giving more people the opportunity to try fishing and joined up fisheries enforcement and intelligence sharing.

Through fishing licence income the fisheries service also provides three funds, the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP), the Angling Improvement Fund (AIF) and the Get Fishing Fund (GFF). These funds are open to angling clubs, local authorities, landowners, rivers trusts, charities etc to bid into for support to improve fishery habitats and access, biosecurity and to encourage people to get into fishing.

Restoration work at the historic Park Mill Lake in West Sussex was supported by the Fisheries Improvement Programme

The Get Fishing Fund promotes the sport to new converts

So, if you were wondering what fishing licence income funds every time you buy your fishing licence have a look at the Fisheries Annual Report 2022 to 2023 and see how buying your licence helps us to maintain, develop and improve fisheries and angling opportunities all over England. So please, keep on fishing, renew your licence, and help us carry on all the great work we accomplished in 2022/23.

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