Angling Improvement Fund

What is the Angling Improvement Fund?

The Angling Improvement Fund (AIF) is a way of reinvesting income from fishing licence sales in projects which benefit anglers across England.

Since its launch in 2015, the AIF has made over 500 separate awards totalling over £2.3m to clubs and fisheries that aimed to improve the infrastructure of angling facilities all of which support the National Angling Strategy. Projects included ways to help tackle the predation of fish stocks, replacement of fishing platforms, improve pathways, car parking facilities, new toilets plus bursaries to over 200 new coaching licences.

The AIF is administered by the Angling Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency who provide the funding through the sale of the non-migratory trout and coarse fishing licence. The total worth of the programme, taking into account match-funding, is an estimated £6 million, creating or safeguarding tens of thousands of angling opportunities throughout England. Safer facilities, better habitats and more accessible facilities enable clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations to flourish and attract more anglers.

2021-2022 funding to protect fish stocks from predation


Firstly, we would like to thank all the clubs, fisheries and other organisations who submitted project proposals in 2020 for measures that aimed to protect stocks from predation. We received 65 applications of which 54 were approved and received funding which totalled £233,000. The overall value of these funded projects is estimated to be £660,000 which includes the various match contributions from the applicants, such as cash, donations and/or voluntary time or a mixture of all three.

The AIF together with the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) provides an excellent way for the Environment Agency to reinvest fishing licence income in positive outcomes for anglers. We need to develop good projects and ensure fisheries money goes further and works harder. Projects located outside of England – and projects primarily supporting salmon and sea trout angling and/or sea angling organisations – are not eligible to apply.

We are now seeking new project ideas for 2021. The Environment Agency intends to release a budget at the start of the next financial year in April. Therefore, we wish to accumulate ‘shelf-ready’ projects that have been formally approved in anticipation of new funds being made available.

We are again looking to make awards of up to a maximum of £5,000 where the applicant is able to commit a comparable amount of match-funding (cash, donations and/or voluntary time or a mixture of the three). All new project proposals must be based around measures that help protect or prevent stocks from predation from mammals such as otters or mink as well as those that combat over predation by fish eating birds.

The funded work will need to be completed by the end of March 2022 at the very latest.

Key information

Before applying we strongly recommend that all applicants take time to read our Guidance Document that will tell you more about why we are offering this funding, plus tips and advice for developing your project or idea.

In addition, we will have expected every applicant to have first consulted with one of our Fishery Management Advisors (FMA) about the project and detailed these discussions and recommendations within the application.

All applicants need to complete and submit their form using the online grant management system. Applicants who have not already registered their details will need to do so by following a simple registration process, once registered they can select the relevant electronic form and begin to complete it.


Need further assistance?

For further information about this funding please contact the Angling Improvement Fund Administration team on 0115 822 4561 or email [email protected] or from Andy Petch, National Angling Improvement Fund Manager, on 07495 433626.

Winning projects from previous years

Winning Projects 2019-20

In 2019-20, the Angling Improvement Fund agreed funding for 31 projects on the theme of fish protection and predation. Most of the funding will be used to provide otter-proof fencing at stillwater fisheries. Other projects involve mink control, protection from cormorants, fish refuges and floating islands.

Winning Projects 2018-19

Fifty-eight new angling projects were selected for funding from the Angling Improvement Fund during 2018-19 – with the total value of all the projects worth over £760,000. In addition to the £296,000 awarded by the AIF, the winning applicants also contributed £280,000 themselves plus an estimated £187,000 of volunteer time.

Winning Projects 2017-18

During 2017/18, over 150 projects were selected to receive grants following a competitive judging process. Two rounds of funding were held on the following themes: Council and Commercial Waters, Predation and Fish Protection (twice), Access to Waters, Health and Wellbeing, and Spring Maintenance.

Winning Projects 2016-17

Another 125 organisations across England won grants from the Angling Improvement Fund in the year to April 2017, sharing a massive £670,000 of funding made available from fishing licence sales. In all, 153 projects were selected for funding at the end of a competitive judging process.

Winning Projects 2015-16

Four rounds of funding was made available from the sale of fishing licences in 2015-16. The themes were Supporting the Aims of the National Angling Strategy, Protecting Fisheries from Predation and Getting Kids Fishing, Otter-proof Fencing and Best Unfunded from Rounds 1 & 2, Community Waters and Schools & Colleges.