Tom Sherwood, Senior Advisor in AFNE (Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment), answers the question: 'Where does my fishing licence money go?'
One of the questions I am often asked by anglers is “where does my fishing licence money go?” There is no one answer, as every year we strive to make a real difference for our fisheries and anglers through an array of activities. But, every penny we receive in rod licence income is always reinvested to protect both the sport of angling and our wonderful waterways.
In fact, we spend far more than we receive, by being able to attract funding from other parts of the Environment Agency, government and our external partners. Last year, for every £1 of fishing licence money we invested in projects, we secured an additional £25.7 worth of additional investment to improve fisheries and develop fishing opportunities.
You can see this for yourself in newly-published Annual Fisheries Report for 2019 to 2020. In this document, we outline the extent of work undertaken thanks to this important source of funding.
During the financial year 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 we sold 940,974 fishing licenses. This equates to 835,244 individual anglers – a figure we are set to surpass for the financial year 2020/21 as more people have been seeking out ways to improve their wellbeing and reconnect with nature during the coronavirus pandemic.
The report gives details on all the work we do, including vital work with our brilliant network of approximately 2,000 partners. These include organisations involved in angling such as the Angling Trust and The Wild Trout Trust, as well as a large number of local angling clubs, fishery owners, local councils and charities. With the support of our partners, we are able to deliver far more, ensuring that every pound from the licence fee income is used to its maximum potential.
In 2019/2020, the revenue generated by sales of nearly one million fishing licences contributed to helping us stock over half a million coarse fish into our waterways and to improve 515 kilometers of river and 185 hectares of stillwater fisheries, to provide habitat for fish to thrive. Other works covered by the licence fee included the building of more than 58 fish passes, which allow fish to move up rivers more freely and 1,521 surveys to monitor fish stocks.
In total, through fishing licence income, partner contributions and additional government funding we have invested over £26,700,000 in fisheries projects.
We also worked with a range of volunteers including the Angling Trusts Voluntary Bailiff Service, who provide eyes and ears on the banks to ensure people are complying with the law. This is a vital piece of work that ensures anglers fish legally and can enjoy the sport, while preserving and protecting fish stocks. They also provide a huge number of volunteer angling coaches, who give people the chance to try our wonderful sport.
So remember, a rod licence is more than just a piece of paper, it’s helping to create a sustainable future for fisheries, putting anglers at the heart of protecting and improving the very things they care about.
To keep up to date with the work we do, please opt in to receiving communications from us when you buy a licence.
Annual fishing licences are available from only £30 and juniors can fish for free. To enjoy fishing and make sure you fish legally - go to www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence.