Sea Anglers Demand Fair Deal in new Fisheries Bill

The Angling Trust has called on the government to give sea angling a fair deal ahead of the publication of a white paper setting out proposals for a new UK fisheries bill.

In a briefing sent to the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, the Trust has urged the government to follow the example of other countries and recognise the potential of developing world-class recreational fishing in the UK now that the country will no longer be constrained by the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

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Approximately one million members of the public spend well over £2bn annually on sea angling in the UK, supporting tens of thousands of livelihoods, many in deprived coastal communities. English sea anglers pay as much into the Treasury as the entire value of English commercial fishing landings, for which they receive no acknowledgement or proper consideration in terms of resource allocation.

The Trust wants to see management objectives, or recreational fishery development goals, which support and grow recreational angling. An example of this from overseas is in the USA where recreational fishing for striped bass has been allowed to thrive as the major stakeholder in the fishery and is now valued at a staggering $6.5bn supporting an estimated 63,000 jobs.

Measures designed to support and develop angling, such as the restored presence and abundance of the UK’s inshore fish stocks, with naturally occurring age structures, including mature, adult, fish would motivate the angling public to fish more often and spend more money supporting coastal communities and businesses throughout the UK. The government’s objective of fishing at ‘maximum sustainable yield’ isn’t, on its own, a suitable objective for stocks most valuable to members of the public fishing with rod and line.

Despite the evidence of the importance of recreational fishing to people, communities and the economy, Defra still focuses its efforts on managing stocks wholly for commercial fishing, excluding the recreational sea angling sector from participating equitably in the process of formulating management policy or management measures.  Recreational angling nearly always gets overlooked in government policies about marine fisheries.

David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s Head of Marine, said: 'There’s no reason why the UK couldn’t follow the path of the USA, New Zealand and Australia, to name a few countries, and officially recognise that the public, many of whom fish for their own pleasure or personal consumption, are, as well as being the owners of public fishery resources, also the major economic players in many fisheries and must be considered on an equal footing with commercial fishing in the management of publicly-owned fish stocks. The evidence in support of this is overwhelming. The only thing holding this back is a lack of political courage to make it happen.'

In a number of recommendations, the Trust is calling on the government to recognise the public’s right to access publicly-owned fish stocks and to allocate fishing opportunities based on the social, economic and environmental benefits to society, based on the principle of ‘optimal utilisation’.

Evidence already exists that for some stocks members of the public fishing recreationally delivers the optimal use of the resource generating the highest economic and employment benefits and contributing the lowest biological impact on stocks. This evidence now needs to be acted on and turned into policy so that the government’s objectives of leaving the environment in a better condition for the next generation and regenerating coastal communities can be delivered.

Hunt saboteurs target the ancient art of angling

The Hunt Saboteurs Association this week launched a misguided attempt to disrupt the Angling Trust’s Cormorant Watch website by encouraging its supporters to record bogus sightings of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers.

When the site was set up to campaign for greater controls of these fish-eating birds, which are now present in the UK in unsustainable numbers, the Angling Trust established a quality assurance protocol to avoid vexatious action such as this.

The Angling Trust, which is the representative body for all anglers in England and Wales, calls on Hunt Saboteurs to stop wasting their time by recording false sightings because they will not be included in the final figures.

The Trust urged them to understand the damage these birds are doing to fish populations and freshwater ecosystems. Cormorants were very rarely seen inland before the 1980s, but their numbers have increased enormously since and they are now a significant factor in the decline of many fish populations in the context of widespread pollution, over-abstraction of water and habitat damage.

Goosanders and mergansers are a particular problem on salmon rivers, nearly all of which are classified as being at risk of failing to meet their conservation targets due to declining stocks.

Research from the Atlantic Salmon Trust has shown that 40-50% of young salmon die on their journey down rivers, with predation the most likely cause. On the Hampshire Avon, a river once famous for its specimen roach stocks, the species was almost wiped out in the middle reaches of the river as cormorant numbers exploded in the 1990s.

The Angling Trust is encouraging anglers to continue submitting sightings to the database up to the 31st March when the survey is due to end so that it can build a picture of the distribution of the birds to support better management of predation at a national level. The Angling Trust will be backing up this information by contacting more than 2,000 angling clubs and fisheries it has in membership and asking them to contribute to a survey about fish-eating birds to provide more evidence to Ministers and statutory agencies to press them to take action.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said: 'It is disappointing that these animal rights extremists have chosen to target angling with their hateful action. Online comments on forums associated with this movement have even called for anglers to be shot, which is appalling.               

He added: 'Anglers invest tens of millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours restoring water environments, monitoring and reporting pollution and collecting litter.  We have never called for predatory birds to be wiped out but we do want to see sensible, proportionate management to control their numbers at sustainable levels that can support viable fish populations. Angling is loved by three million people, supports 40,000 jobs and generates £3billion for the UK economy. These people will not stop us fishing.'

A ‘Brilliant’ New Website Helps Anglers Find the Perfect Fishing Spot

A new mobile-friendly interactive website has been launched today (9th June) to help anglers, and would-be anglers, find the best spot to fish.

Fishinginfo.co.uk provides everything needed for a fishing trip, from searching for fishing spots to what the weather is doing and live water levels to information on buying a rod licence and where to buy kit.

With so much information available to anglers, Fishinginfo.co.uk provides a vital source of reference to all things fishing within a single website. It also gives information on tackle shops, angling clubs and coaches. Free registration allows anglers to receive all kinds of useful information, save their favourites and build up a series of links, which will help them to make the most of their day’s fishing.

Produced by the Angling Trust in partnership with the Environment Agency, Met Office and Post Office, Fishinginfo.co.uk is part of a major nationwide drive to increase participation in angling.

Launching on 9th June 2015Fishinginfo.co.uk will initially be fronted by the popular comic actor Paul Whitehouse.  Paul, an Angling Trust Ambassador, was very keen to get involved, even reprising the ‘Brilliant Kid’ character made famous by the hugely successful BBC comedy series ‘The Fast Show’.

A special launch film starring Paul as the ‘Brilliant Kid’ talking about how ‘Fantastic’ fishing is will be available from the launch date at http://youtube.com/fishinginfoukat. Advertising in the national angling press plus a social media campaign will support the launch.

Paul Whitehouse commented:

'It was a pleasure to get involved and put something back into a sport that I have loved since I was a kid. I enjoyed playing ‘Brilliant Kid’ again in what will probably be his last hurrah. I hope that anglers and fans of the ‘Fast Show’ will enjoy the film, If we can encourage any more people to take up fishing then it will have been worth it.'

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd commented:

'We are delighted to be launching Fishinginfo.co.uk. This new website will really make a difference for anglers looking to find new places to fish or getting back into fishing after taking some time out due to the pressures of family life.  We urge all anglers, clubs and fisheries to use the update feature on the site to ensure that information is correct.  We also want to make buying a rod licence as quick and simple as possible so our direct link to the Post Office website should help with that.

Our launch is made even more special in that Paul Whitehouse is fronting our campaign. Paul is a very keen angler who supports the vital work carried out by the Trust. We hope our ‘Brilliant Kid’ film will appeal to anglers and non-anglers alike, attracting a wider audience and growing participation in the sport we all love.'

Sarah Chare, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

'The Fishinginfo website is a fantastic new resource for all anglers and those wanting to get started. We are really pleased to have contributed to this initiative – another great example of how rod licence money goes back to benefit those who go fishing. Fishing is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, has great health, welfare and educational benefits and it is important to our economy.  A coarse and trout rod licence is only £27 for the year and it is easy to buy online from the Post Office website which can be also be accessed through FishingInfo.co.uk.'

Fishinginfo.co.uk is designed for use on mobiles and tablets as well as your home or work computer.

Election 2015 - Where the parties stand on Angling

Party Manifesto analysis – by the Angling Trust


With the outcome of the General Election on a knife edge and polling just a few days away, the Angling Trust has completed a review of what the main political parties are offering to do for fish and fishing. A trawl through the manifestos of the Conservative, Labour, LibDem, UKIP and Green parties has revealed strengths and weaknesses in them all.

Last month the Angling Trust published a comprehensive Manifesto for Angling and invited the five main parties to sign up and comment. Labour was the first to sign and Shadow Fisheries Minister Angela Smith said:
'Labour is proud to have a strong tradition of support for Angling.  We recognise not only the economic contribution that anglers makes but also the role they play up and down the country in working to improve our water and marine environment. The manifesto for angling contains some positive ideas for how the next Labour Government can both improve our natural environment and support Britain's most popular sport. We worked constructively with the Angling Trust when Labour was last in Government and we look forward to doing so again.'

However, Labour's own environmental policy is one of the weaker on offer and their own manifesto makes almost no reference to fish or fishing.

The Conservatives have been keen to point out their record in government with new controls on cormorants and support for angling projects. They did agree, following a meeting between the Trust and the Prime Minister, to include a promise to deliver a sustainable bass fishery. The Tories are also committed to concluding important projects like the Thames Tideway Tunnel to improve water quality.

Whilst they've yet to sign up to the Manifesto for Angling the Conservatives' most prominent angling MP and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group George Hollingbery said:
'Angling is one of the biggest participant activities in the UK and important to the country at many different levels.  The Angling Manifesto hits all the right notes:  we know how beneficial angling can be to those that are involved and should encourage more people to pick up a rod; with so many people involved already, we know that a number of areas of government policy should always recognise this very large interest group; and we know that angling is a force for good when it comes to the environment and the health of our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.'

As expected the LibDem and Green manifestos are strong on the need for greater environmental protection with commitments to reduce water abstractions through wider water metering and construction of new reservoirs. However, neither party has anything to say about angling and has not yet responded to the Angling Trust's manifesto.

UKIP has the most comprehensive manifesto section on fishing of all the political parties but is exclusively focussed on the marine environment with strong support for continued exploitation of sea fish stocks by the UK commercial sector. They support measures to conserve bass stocks but oppose the three fish bag limit on recreational sea anglers. UKIP have acknowledged, but are yet to respond formally to the Manifesto for Angling.

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: 'We are pleased to have secured strong responses from both Labour and Conservative parties ahead of what will be a finely balanced election result. This means that anglers can be pretty confident that we will continue to receive good support from whoever is the major party in the next government. However, there is still a long way to go before we can get all politicians to recognise just how important it is for the nation’s 3 million anglers to look probably look after the rivers, streams, lakes and coastal fisheries upon which our sport depends.'

Illegal Fishing Lands Angler With £525 Bill and Criminal Record

A Knutsford man found guilty of fishing illegally at a mere has been fined £400.

On 9 November 2014 Joshua Egerton, 19, from 12 Churchfields, Knutsford was caught and later charged for illegally fishing at Booths Mere, a private fishery managed by Angling Trust members, Altrincham and District Angling Club.

Egerton appeared at Macclesfield Magistrates on 15 April 2015 and was found guilty for 'unlawfully attempting to take fish in water in which there was a private right of fishery'. He was also found guilty as he 'fished or took fish otherwise than in accordance with a licence by means of a rod and line'.

Egerton was he was fined £400 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40 and pay costs of £85.00 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Cheshire Police Wildlife Crime Officer PC Jim Day said: 'Police are taking positive action to support both the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust to tackle illegal fishing in the UK.'

Dilip Sarkar Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager said: 'This is an excellent result and a great example of what we are all collectively achieving through the Fisheries Enforcement Campaign: raising awareness within the police service and beyond to the wider public, increasing confidence and intelligence - and all involved working together.

Cheshire Police have done a first class job with this - as too have CPS and the magistrates. This sends a very strong message out to would-be poachers: persist and you will get caught, be punished and have a criminal record. Times have changed - and all responsible, law-abiding, anglers welcome this.'

Anglers Celebrate As EU Bans Trawling For Bass

Trawling for bass during the spawning period has been banned in a historic set of emergency measures aimed at averting a total collapse of Europe’s bass stocks.

The ban on pelagic trawling – which accounts for 25 per cent of the impact on the stock and includes the controversial method of pair trawling – will begin immediately in the Channel, Celtic sea, Irish Sea and Southern North Sea and run until April 30th during which time adult bass aggregate to reproduce and are most vulnerable.

The EU is putting forward further measures to deal with the impact on bass stocks of recreational and other commercial fishing methods. For recreational bass angling the proposals include a three fish a day bag limit and an increase in the legal minimum size of bass from 36cm to 42cm.

The European Commission is also proposing limiting catches for other commercial bass fisheries and is working on a proposal with member states which will be taken to the Council of fisheries ministers as soon as possible.

The emergency measures have been introduced following scientific advice in June 2014 that recommended an 80 per cent cut in catches from the previous year and confirmation that continued fishing pressure was leading to serious harm to the reproductive capacity of the stock.

This is the first time that Article 12 of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy has been invoked due to, 'A serious threat to the conservation of marine biological resources..'.

The Angling Trust and our partners at the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) and (European Anglers Alliance) have been campaigning tirelessly for the introduction of conservation measures for bass – a crucially important recreational species and one that generates hundreds of millions of pounds and supports tens of thousands of jobs across Europe. In 2012 the Angling Trust organised a delegation to the then Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to press the case for bass conservation measures in the face of evidence demonstrating that stocks were in trouble.

The Angling Trust will be continuing to work with the UK and the Commission to ensure that the measures to limit other commercial bass fisheries are in proportion to the new bag limit and minimum size being proposed for recreational catches. In addition the Trust will be working with the UK to agree on what additional measures the UK can take to restore the UK bass fishery.

David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s Marine Campaigns Manager, said:

'Emergency measures such as this, can last for a maximum of 12 months so it is crucial that the Commission and member states now follow through on the commitment to develop a long term bass management plan which the Angling Trust and our partners will play a key role in helping to develop. This is an historic decision for recreational fishing and hopefully represents a sea change in public policy towards marine conservation. However, there's a long way to go yet to achieve what is needed for a truly sustainable fishery.'

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said:

'Bass anglers have been calling for action to protect stocks for nearly a decade and it seems that the UK government and European Commission have at last acted, in the face of undeniable scientific evidence and a concerted campaign by the Angling Trust and BASS.  The immediate emergency measures that have been confirmed are very welcome and the intention to follow these up with further restrictions on commercial exploitation is encouraging.'

Nigel Horsman, of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society, said:

'This is a great day for Dicentrarchus Labrax, the fabulous European Sea Bass, and what we have been working so hard and waiting so long for.  We also look forward to the production of a long term management plan for bass, which will lead to healthy stocks of all sizes of bass for the benefit of everyone who uses this stock sustainably.

I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work of everyone in the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS) and the Angling Trust who campaigned for this for many years. The strength and breadth of that support has been invaluable in achieving this amazing result. 

We know that recruitment to the adult stock will be weak for the next few years, but I hope these measures will ensure that the current stock remains broadly stable until environmental conditions allow a full stock recovery, which we can cherish and then enjoy great British Bass fishing for many years to come.'

Crucian project video goes live

The National Crucian Carp Project has this week launched a new information video aimed at encouraging angling and fishery interests to embrace crucian conservation and draw up plans for more crucian waters in their areas. The video is also part of a new episode of the Fishing Britain series produced by the YouTube channel FieldsportsChannel.tv and features the Angling Trust's Martin Salter as a guest presenter.

The National Crucian Conservation Project group was launched in 2014 following widespread concerns about the loss of crucian habitat and the threat to the species through hybridisation caused by inappropriate stocking practices. It aims to: 'Promote the conservation of the species and its habitat and to encourage the development of well managed crucian fisheries.'

Plans include:

  • A regional network of growing on centres to increase the availability of wild crucian stocks to compliment increased crucian stockings
  • A ‘pure’ crucian accreditation scheme
  • Factsheets on creating and managing waters, avoiding hybridisation and a crucian ID guide
  • Courses or events for fishery owners and managers

The video, which features scenes from Catching the Impossible, was filmed at waters belonging to Newbury and Godalming angling associations and shows crucians from the Environment Agency's fish farm at Calverton being stocked into new waters that will be developed as future Crucian fisheries.

Angling Artist Chris Turnbull, one of the projects founding members said: 'In what seems like almost no time at all the National Crucian Conservation Project has really taken off and is attracting great support from clubs and private fisheries all around the country. People are waking up to the fact that crucian carp are a fabulous species that needs all the help it can get. Just two years ago we could see a time when crucians might be on the verge of disappearing altogether, whereas today more, new, bespoke crucian fisheries are being created. Not only does this offer hope for a bright future for crucians, it also shows anglers can be a strong force for conservation when they put their minds to it.'

Angling Trust Campaign Chief Martin Salter added: 'It's been great to have the support and assistance from the guys at Fishing Britain and to be able to use quality footage from renowned wildlife film maker Hugh Miles in our quest to create better prospects for this wonderful little fish. We hope that many more angling clubs and fishery owners will be inspired to create more diverse stillwater fisheries rather than simply stocking to the rafters with king carp and all manner of ghastly hybrids and ornamentals.'

Salmon farm's request refused

Highland Council refuses salmon farm’s request for permanency 

The Highland Council has refused an application by the Scottish Salmon Company to remove a planning condition limiting their permission to operate a salmon farm at Sgeir Dughall to 10 years only. This is a major win for environmental campaigners, who strongly believe that salmon farming causes untold damage to the declining wild stocks of salmon and sea trout.

The Highland Council granted a time-limited planning permission for the controversial 2,500 tonne fish farm in Upper Loch Torridon in 2012, but placed a 10 year limit on it because of serious concerns over the impact that the farm could have on local wild salmon and sea trout populations.

There are already four other existing farms in Loch Torridon supporting a maximum biomass of 4,000 tonnes of salmon. There is strong evidence that these farms have heavily impacted the salmon and trout populations in local wild fisheries including the rivers Torridon, Balgy and Shieldaig.

Fish Legal drafted a detailed response on behalf of Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board to the fish farmer's application. The letter robustly pointed out that in the short time the Sgeir Dughall farm has been operating, the farmer has failed to control sea lice numbers effectively, creating a huge additional risk to local wild salmon and sea trout. Sea lice attach onto wild fish passing by fish farms, eating into their flesh, making them prone to infections and disease which can eventually kill them. Wild fish stocks have declined throughout the West Coast of Scotland where fish farming takes place. This was a point taken on board by Highland's planning officer who commented in the Planning Report "nothing substantive has changed to warrant removal of the condition; if anything the information to date suggests a stronger case for its retention".

Robert Younger, Fish Legal Solicitor, said: 'We are delighted that Highland Council is adopting a precautionary approach and have refused the application to remove the 10 year limit condition. Its retention will allow for the implementation of a monitoring regime that will allow the impact of the farm to be much better understood. This will be vital should there be an application to renew permission in 10 years’ time. It also means that the Scottish Salmon Company has not been give ‘carte blanche’ to go on damaging our precious wild stocks indefinitely.'

Kevin's Day

This sounds like a great day out guys, and one we should get along to...

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KEVIN’S DAY

Date ….  Thursday 14th August 2014

Venue ….  Lemington Lakes

Address …. Todenham Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9NP

Cost ….  £10 per car

Times ….  9-00a.m. till 5-00p.m

Double gold for England feeder team

It's Double Gold for England Feeder Team in the FIPSed World Championship

The Angling Trust's Preston Innovations sponsored England Feeder team shattered the opposition in the 4th FIPSed World Feeder Championships from 19th – 20th July on the fantastic Inniscarra Lake near Cork in Southern Ireland.  Tom Pickering’ s men had spent a great deal of time travelling and practising on the venue, and all their efforts were rewarded when they recorded less than half the points of the runners up host team Ireland.

By choosing a depth to fish rather than a distance the team caught roach, skimmers to 2 lbs and hybrids at between 20 to 30 metres out. With a mix of Sensas Magic and a handful of Sensas Black as the base to a groundbait mix the team then baited with maggot, worm or bloodworm.

At the end of the official week long practice Tom was confident that the tactics were spot on, and with only 11 points scored on day one the team were in a commanding position.

The team selected were; Steve Ringer, Adam Wakelin, Mick Vials, Phil Ringer, Dean Barlow, Rob Wootton (reserve), and Tom Pickering (manager), and Glenn Lawrence (coach).   Bank Runners were; Adam Rooney, Jamie Harrison and Will Freeman

Team England Day 1 Results
Steve Ringer 1 point
Phil Ringer 2 points
Adam Wakelin 3 points
Mick Vials  1 point
Dean Barlow 4 points

Top 3 teams Day 1 Results
1st England 11 points
2nd Ireland 23 points
3rd Holland 24 points

Day 2 -  Tom made no changes to the team or to the tactics especially with four of the anglers having a good chance of a podium place.  The venue was in sparkling form and the weights recorded by all the 25 participating teams were special. The top individual weight over the 2 days was taken by Zsolt Benzar 29.419 kilos an angler representing Romania who finished in fourth place.

England’s dominance was immense again winning the second day, but this time with an increased points margin when the whole team scored 15 points.
Individually England could easily have taken all the medals when Steve Ringer put in a superlative performance winning gold with a perfect 2 point score and Mick Vials taking the bronze on 3 points only to be beaten on weight for the Silver medal position.

Team England Day 2 Results
Steve Ringer 1 point
Phil Ringer 8 points
Adam Wakelin 2 points
Mick Vials 2 points
Dean Barlow 2 points

Top 3 teams Day 2 Results

1st England 15 points
2nd Czech Rep. 31 points
3rd Ireland 39 points

FINAL RESULTS & PLACINGS

Top three Final Team results

1st England  26 points  GOLD Medal
2nd Ireland 62  points  SILVER Medal
3rd Holland 77 points  BRONZE Medal

Top Individual results
1st Steve Ringer, England  2 points GOLD Medal World Feeder Champion
2nd Felix Sceuermann, Germany 3 points  28.434 kilos SILVER Medal
3rd Mick Vials, England  3 points 24.470 kilos BRONZE Medal

Remaining England positions
5th Adam Wakelin 5 points
8th Dean Barlow 6 points
14th Phil Ringer 10 points

Dick Clegg, OBE, International Events Manager, Angling Trust said “I would like to offer congratulations to Tom Pickering and the England Feeder Team.  It was a fantastic performance by the team and they thoroughly deserve to win the World Championship.  I would also like to thank the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (N.C.F.F.I) for organising a well run Championship.”

The Angling Trust would like to thank Preston Innovations for sponsoring the team and Sensas for their help in providing the groundbait.  Also a big congratulations to the England Feeder team for an outstanding performance in the World Championship this year at bringing home the medals, and to the hosts N.C.F.F.I for a well organised event.

 

Environment Agency

Environment Agency blitz on rod licence cheats

Environment Agency enforcement teams continue clamping down on rod licence cheats, notching up more than 13,000 licence checks across England in May.

Of the 13,000 anglers checked for a valid licence, 965 were fishing illegally and could face a court appearance and a substantial fine. A recent penalty was more than £800 when an annual licence costs just £27.

May falls within the coarse fishing ‘close season’ – which runs from 15th March to 15th June – when coarse angling is suspended on rivers and a few canals and lakes in order to allow coarse fish to breed. While some licence cheats were also fishing rivers during the close season, the majority were caught on stillwaters where fishing is still allowed during these months.

One Environment Agency enforcement officer reported an angler for fishing with three rods on one licence (each licence covers up to two rods). The angler was particularly aggressive because he had been caught in same place for the same offence last year.

In another case an angler gave a false identity and nearly ended up being arrested. The following day the same angler was checked at a different fishery but had subsequently bought two valid rod licences. What’s more, he was fishing with several other anglers and had informed them that the bailiffs were about – his fellow anglers told the officer they had been tempted to fish without a licence but, on the advice of their friend, had bought one that morning online.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “The number of anglers caught red-handed is testament to the hard work of our enforcement teams. But worryingly it still shows a blatant disregard for fisheries and the environment. People who don’t buy a licence are cheating other anglers and the future of the sport. The Environment Agency relies on the income from rod licences to continue the important work we do to protect fish stocks, improve fisheries and encourage more people to take up fishing. 

“If you are caught fishing without a rod licence you risk a criminal conviction and a fine. There is no excuse – it costs just £27 for a whole year and is easy to buy from the Post Office website.”

In addition to the Environment Agency’s rod licence enforcement work, which focused mainly on stillwaters, Angling Trust voluntary bailiffs were also patrolling rivers to detect and report any close season and other fisheries offences. Environment Agency officers were able to respond to their reports and all the intelligence information gathered will help inform future enforcement patrols – they will know who is likely to be fishing illegally when and where.

Last year, Environment Agency officers checked more than 70,000 licences and prosecuted more than 2,800 licence cheats. Between them, they were ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of £600,000. To help crack down on unlicensed fishing the Environment Agency urges anyone to report illegal activity by calling 0800 80 70 60.

Money raised from rod licence sales is reinvested in the environment, including a whole range of projects to improve facilities for anglers, protect 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.

Annual rod licences for trout and coarse fishing remain at £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 income can be spent on improving fish stocks and fishing.

How to get your licence

Rod licence prices have remained unchanged for the last 4 consecutive years.

More on rod licences and how to buy one here: https://www.gov.uk/buy-a-uk-fishing-rod-licence or direct from the post office at http://www.postoffice.co.uk/rod-fishing-licence

Anglers can also buy a rod licence by calling the Post Office on 0344 800 5386 or by visiting any Post Office branch.

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.

The perfect Father's Day gift

TAKE YOUR FATHER FISHING FOR FREE ON JUNE 16TH

Mums and families are being encouraged to give dad the perfect gift this Father’s Day – get him fishing! The Father’s Day special promotion is part of the annual TAKE A FRIEND FISHING (TAFF) campaign, organised and run by the Angling Trades Association in association with the Environment Agency and supported by Angling Trust fishery members.

The 2014 river coarse fishing season starts the day after Father’s Day, and Environment Agency annual rod licence holders can take a friend or family member fishing with them for free from 16 June to 22nd June inclusive. 

As with previous TAFF initiatives this year, when the selected venue has been chosen, all that is needed is to cut out or print the rod licence voucher, fill in the person’s details, validate it online at www.takeafriendfishing.co.uk, read the Terms and Conditions, grab tackle, bait and voucher and go fishing!

The Take A Friend Fishing team welcome feedback on how dads and their families enjoyed their day together. Pictures (including venue name, catch details, captor’s name and daytime telephone number) should be sent to: info@takeafriendfishing.co.uk 

To ‘take your dad fishing for free’ between 16 June and 22nd June 2014, download the voucher from: http://www.takeafriendfishing.co.uk/offers/free-rod-licence-voucher/

Rod licences make a fantastic gift for the rest of the fishing season, and they are valid on over 5,000 rivers, lakes and ponds across England. It’s quick and easy to buy a rod licence online or at the Post Office. And kids under 12 can join in the fun for free throughout the year. Details of the various options can be found at: http://www.fishinginfo.co.uk/Home/BuyLicense