Environment Agency reveal where your fishing licence money goes

Ever wondered where the money you fork out for your rod licence each season mgoes?

This week, the Environment Agency has released a comprehensive breakdown of figures which answers exactly that, accounting for all the income it gets from the country’s 1.5m law-abiding anglers.

In the 2008/09 season, its total fisheries budget amounted to £33.6m, of which £23.4m came from anglers, £9.4m from  the Government and £800k from net licence duties.

And while a significant portion of the total was spent on national projects, such as IT, marketing and management costs, the lion’s share went on local issues, including:

Increasing angling participation and providing coaching (27 per cent)
Fisheries improvement projects (19 per cent)
Rod licence enforcement and byelaw setting (16 per cent)
Fish rescues and response to pollution and disease (14 per cent)
Fish surveys and local investigations (12 per cent)
Other enforcement duties, such as tackling fish smuggling and poaching (8 per cent)

“We have announced these figures because we believe it is important for our customers to see where their money is being spent. Our aims are to enhance biodiversity, ensure fish stocks are managed and encourage more people to take part in water-related recreation,” said EA head of fisheries Mat
Crocker.

The Angling Trust welcomed the decision to provide anglers with extra details of how rod licence revenue is allocated.

“I was pleased to see the numbers. It’s great that the Agency is being more open about where it spends our money. I’d like to see more details, though, and money spent on improving anglers’ fishing on the ground,” said Trust chairman Mike Heylin.

The EA also revealed that it could face cuts in the amount of Grant-in-Aid it receives from the Government and that it is looking at freezing next season’s rod licence price.

Labour’s angling spokesman, Martin Salter MP, was realistic about the cuts, but warned that more investment is needed in fisheries if the UK is to meet stringent EU targets.

“Given the financial deficits of the world’s major economies, there’s no doubt that, regardless of whichever party wins the General Election, there are going to have to be significant public spending cuts. Sadly, this will mean a tough time for the EA,” said Martin.

“What angling has to do is demonstrate the potent pitfalls of falling short of the demanding ecological targets of the EU Water Framework Directive, because savage cuts will prove to be a false economy where our fisheries are concerned,” he said.