Could junior fishing licences be made free?

A campaign to get more juniors into angling has taken a major step forward after plans to give out free rod licences to children were suggested.
Environment Agency bosses have pitched the idea to high-ranking government officials in a bid to get more kids into the sport.
The move comes after recently released figures by the EA showed that sales in licences for 12 to 16-year-olds had more than halved in five years, despite increased sales of adult licences this year.
In order to stop the decline, bosses have opened up dialogue with staff at the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) about the possibility of making price alterations, along with a raft of other changes to the rod licence system for 2017.
The current cost of a junior rod licence is £5 a season, but the EA’s Head of Fisheries, Sarah Chare, believes scrapping the charge would prove beneficial to the sport.
She told Angling Times: “We have been conducting numerous surveys over the past year or so and are now using the data to consider possible changes to the system.  The feedback suggests that making the junior licence free will help to protect the future of the sport.
“On top of this we will continue to invest in the Angling Improvement Fund which backs projects to get more kids into the sport, as well as work with the Angling Trust on other ways to increase their participation.”
The EA is also considering the possibility of a three-rod licence, a 365-day licence which starts from the day you buy it, and possible changes to how anglers can pay – but Sarah believes the decline in junior anglers is her top priority.
“We appreciate the hard work already being done by numerous agencies and tackle firms, but we need everyone to do their bit and help out if we are to make a difference,” she concluded.