Angling set for £500,000 licence windfall

Angling is set to receive a major cash boost of more than £500,000, thanks to soaring rod licence sales.
The huge cash injection is being released by the Environment Agency after bosses revealed that the overall sale of UK rod licences has hit the million mark for 2015 – ending six years of decline.
In an exclusive interview with Angling Times, the Environment Agency’s Head of Fisheries, Sarah Chare, revealed that the sport will benefit financially from the trend, saying:  “For the first time since 2009 we have seen overall licence sales climb, rather than drop like we expected.
“This is great news for angling, as cash made from these extra sales will be ploughed straight back into the sport. The more licences we sell, the more money we have to spend on fisheries.”
Detailed plans for the spending of the cash have yet to be finalised, but the EA has revealed that £250,000 of the pot will go towards the continuation of the Angling Improvement Fund (formerly the Fisheries Improvement Fund) which it runs in partnership with the Angling Trust.
On top of this the EA has also planned to inject a further £370,000 into its local fisheries teams, to help with projects such as fish habitat work and anti-predation measures on rivers, lakes and canals.
Sarah explained: “Last season we sold just over 1.2 million licences. With several months of this season still to go we have already hit the 1.1 million mark. The money will be divided between 23 teams who work directly with angling clubs and fisheries to improve venues, so anglers will directly see their licence money helping them.”
One club to benefit from this type of work in recent years is Milton Keynes AA, which has seen thousands of pounds spent on improving fish habitat on its prolific Adams Mill stretch of the Great Ouse, the venue which holds the current UK barbel record.
Secretary Trevor Johnson told Angling Times: “The work that the local EA team has been doing on the upper Ouse area is making a huge difference. Anglers are starting to see the benefits and the cash boost is great for the future of angling.”
The extra money is not the only good news for the sport, as Sarah also revealed that the EA is working on several other issues with the Angling Trust.
“We are currently in talks with the Trust on discovering ways to increase participation in the sport. We are also helping it to roll out the Voluntary Bailiff Service across the UK to give fish stocks even better protection,” she concluded.