Half a million licences bought already

MORE than half a million of this year’s rod licences have been sold so far, Angling Times can reveal.
The Environment Agency has stated that 2015/16 licence sales have already hit 545,635 since they became available in March.
Such positive early season figures are encouraging because many ‘traditionalists’ don’t go fishing in the closed season running from March 14 to June 16, and have yet to buy this year’s rod licence.
EA officials predict these early numbers will rise significantly in the coming months, but only around 23,000 licences sold so far in 2015 have gone to juniors – emphasising the need introduce more youngsters and newcomers to fishing.
Sarah Chare, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said of the early season licence sales: “Sales figures from the first couple of months of the year are very promising. We know they vary early in the season depending on the weather and when Easter sits – so this is a great result however you look at it.
“Working with our partners, we have a comprehensive programme of work over the summer to encourage more people to give fishing a go, get lapsed anglers back on the banks and enforce the law against licence cheats who think they can freeload off the backs of others.”
The Angling Trust’s continued crackdown on those fishing illegally in the traditional closed season, headed up by National Fishery Enforcement Manager Dilip Sarkar and his team, has also contributed to the early season licence sales.
Sarah believes rod licence sales revenue is contributing to fish welfare and in turn making a big difference to the nation’s fisheries.
“We rely on income from rod licences to continue the important work we and our partners do to protect fish stocks, improve angling and encourage more people to take up fishing,” Sarah continued.
“People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating, but they run the risk of a criminal conviction and a fine.”