Licence sales in major market indicate fishing boom will continue
Licence sales figures for March in England and Wales strongly suggest that the COVID-induced boom in fishing participation will continue through 2021.
Data from the Environment Agency, which sends out reminders for licences in March, reveals that sales for all licences for the month are up by 6,443 (4.52%) over the same period last year.
“The fact that these numbers are still showing growth over last year has to be good news for the industry,” said Mike Heylin OBE, Vice Chairman of the Angling Trades Association. “One of the most exciting things is that junior two-rod licences are almost double the period last year. That might indicate a significant uptake in angling amongst youngsters, which is good news for the long-term prospects of the trade.
“I also think the increase in full licences is anglers who were sheltering last year and perhaps did not renew their 2020 licence. They are doing so this year because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding society’s recovery from COVID.”
The biggest growth sector was for two-rod licences in the coarse and trout category, which rose by 3,123. Sales of three-rod licences grew by 1,569, while sales of short-term (one and eight day) licences increased by 1,584.
Total licences sold for migratory salmon fishing were 167 higher than the previous March, a 3.68% increase.
The most significant overall sales increases came in Devon and Cornwall (10.28%), Cumbria and Lancashire (7.97%), Solent and South Downs (6.66%), Kent and South London (6.24%), and Yorkshire (5.70%). The smallest increase was in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire at 1.32%. Another encouraging boost came in the number of unique anglers (individuals who buy one or more licences but are only counted once), which rose by 5,824 year-on-year. In Wales, coarse and trout licences were up in total by 576 (10.74%) and salmon licences up by 158, or 20.18%.