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Dip in rod licence sales major concern for industry


Licence sales figures for January 2024 will be of further concern to a UK industry already battling a tough trading environment. Data from the Environment Agency shows that full year coarse and trout licence numbers are down 1,544 in total compared to the same month last year.

Even more chilling for the trade is the fact that since 2018 there are almost 120,000 fewer anglers, a drop of 14%, despite huge investment in the National Angling Strategy over the last five years.

And the picture could have been a lot worse if short term licences – buoyed by free licences offered during the Take A Friend fishing initiatives – had not risen significantly. Although overall licence income shows an increase, it is due to price increases coming into effect.

Worst hit are full 365 and senior 365 two-rod licences, which dropped 4,469 and 10,359 respectively. A similar pattern can be seen in the three-rod figures, with the same categories down by 5,496 and 771.

Short-term coarse and trout licences fared better, with one-day and eight-day licences showing increases of 3,787 and 843 respectively, offset by falls in the senior numbers in both categories.

Total migratory salmonid licences for January were up by 214, with an encouraging 550 increase in juniors, a hike of almost 33%. Taking both coarse and trout and migratory salmonid licences together, numbers were down 1,330.

“These figures are an essential guide to the health of your industry,” said Andrew Race, Chairman of the Angling Trades Association (ATA). “Licences are bought by regular anglers who are committed enough to buy tackle and bait on a regular basis and it is they who underpin our ability to invest in our futures. The subject of rod licence sales will be top of the bill at our forthcoming Board meeting on March 19th.”

• Anyone under the age of 13 does not require a rod licence. Those aged 13 to 16 qualify for a free licence.

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