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How licence fee income in England has contributed to £48m in fishing improvement projects


The body that is responsible for sales of fishing licences in England says it has invested £48m in projects that benefit angling.

In its annual fisheries report, the Environment Agency (EA) reported rod licence sales in 2019-2020 generated £20m for fisheries and angling communities across the country. It also revealed that a crackdown on illegal fishing resulted in 1,611 successful prosecutions and £286,000 in penalties issued.

Kevin Austin, Deputy Director for Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “Income from fishing licence sales is used to fund vital work to improve and protect our fisheries and much-loved species. Our annual report shows how income generated is invested directly back to our angling community, improving fish stocks, boosting opportunities for anglers as well as working with partners to make it easier for anyone to take up fishing.

“When you buy a licence, you are supporting the important work by the EA, including restocking, fisheries enforcement, habitat improvement and fish rescues when needed.”

The report shows that in 2019-20, licence sales funded:

• In-depth monitoring of fish stocks, with EA teams conducting 1,521 fisheries surveys to assess fish stocks and the health of waters across England;

• Over 40,000 people encouraged to try fishing for the first time at 1,525 angling participation events;

• Installation of 58 fish passes and the improvement of 515km of rivers, providing habitat for all fish to thrive;

• The enhancement and improved access to 185 hectares of stillwater fisheries;

• 27 projects to protect fisheries from predation from otters and cormorants through the Angling Improvement Fund (AIF);

• 135 projects to improve and enhance fisheries via the EA’s Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP);

• Collaborative work with over 2,000 partners (including the Angling Trust, Wild Trout Trust, local rivers trusts, land owners and angling clubs)

• The supply and stocking of more than half a million coarse fish including roach, dace, chub, barbel, tench, rudd, common bream and grayling. These fish are essential in helping to develop fisheries and for waters impacted by major pollution incidents.

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