'Don't cheat on angling' - anglers urged to buy rod licence, new prosecutions list identifies the anglers who didn't buy rod licences
The Angling Trust and Environment Agency are urging anglers to renew their rod licence or risk appearing on a new list identifying people who have been caught fishing illegally published on the Angling Trust's website at www.anglingtrust.net/prosecutions.
The list gives the names, ages and addresses of offenders, plus details of the offence and the fine. May saw the courts clamp down on more than 150 offenders, handing down a total of almost £40,000 in penalties.
Paul Lidgett, Environment Agency fisheries manager, said: "We hope that the publication of this prosecution list will send a clear message to licence dodgers who are cheating angling. The Environment Agency relies on the income from rod licences to continue the important work we do to protect and improve the nation's fisheries. If you are caught fishing without a rod licence you risk a fine and a criminal record. There is no excuse - it's quick and easy to buy a rod licence, costs just £27 for a whole year and is available on the Post Office website."
Every penny from rod licence sales is reinvested in the environment, including a whole range of projects bringing improved facilities for anglers, protecting stocks from illegal fishing, plus fish restocking, invasive species eradication, and working with partners to encourage people to take-up fishing for the first time.
Mark Lloyd, the Angling Trust's Chief Executive, said: "We are happy to help with this initiative. All law-abiding anglers pay for the Environment Agency's fisheries service which does a great job improving fish stocks and funding angling development projects. We support the Environment Agency taking a tough line with those who cheat on their fellow anglers. We hope this list will be helpful to clubs and fisheries in identifying licence cheats. Every angler fishing in freshwater must buy a licence."
Anglers are reminded that the coarse fishing close season applies to all rivers and streams between 15th March and 15th June. However, most still waters and canals do not have a closed season so all anglers in England need a valid Environment Agency rod licence. Rod licences are valid from 1st Aprilto 31st March and fishing without one can lead to a substantial fine.
Annual rod licences for trout and coarse fishing cost £5 for 12 to 16 year olds, £18 for senior and disabled concessions and £27 for non-concessions. Children under 12 can fish for free. Buying a licence online from the Post Office website saves time and administration costs, which means more of the funds can be spent on improving fish stocks and fishing.
Last year, Environment Agency officials checked more than 80,000 licences and prosecuted more than 2,700 licence cheats. Between them, they were ordered to pay fines in excess of £335,000. To help crack down on unlicensed anglers the Environment Agency urges anyone to report illegal activity by calling 0800 80 70 60.
The Prosecution List is published around the middle of each month with the previous month's prosecutions. This data is provided periodically by the Environment Agency, and only refers to prosecutions of anglers that were conducted by courts in England in the month stated.
Anglers can also buy a rod licence by calling the Environment Agency on 0844 800 5386 or by visiting any Post Office branch. We are aware of on-line third party providers who offer to buy the rod licence for you. They charge up to £20 for this service and do not purchase the licence on your behalf immediately. You could unwittingly go fishing without a licence, be liable for prosecution and pay £47 for a £27 licence.
Alternatively, you can buy your licence through the Angling Trust's mobile-configured website -www.fishinginfo.co.uk. Whether at home or on the move, anglers can use this new website to get details of thousands of fisheries, tackle shops, clubs and coaches, plus all the latest angling weather and river levels.