Li­cences Mas­sive shake-up to rules sees kids fish for free

...and new three-rod li­cence will please na­tion’s carp an­glers

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME - MARK PECK Se­nior re­porter

CHIL­DREN will fish for free and carp an­glers will save money as part of a mas­sive shake-up in the rod li­cens­ing sys­tem.

These are just two changes in a raft of new mea­sures an­nounced by En­vi­ron­ment Agency bosses this week in a bid to of­fer an­glers more value for money and en­cour­age more young­sters to fish.

The changes, which come into force next March, in­clude a spe­cial price for those us­ing three rods, and scrap­ping the cur­rent £5 fee for un­der-16s. They will also see 365-day rolling li­cences from day of pur­chase.

The move comes in re­sponse to a re­cent Angling Trust sur­vey in which the na­tion’s an­glers crit­i­cised the cur­rent li­cens­ing sys­tem. Big-fish hunters claimed they were be­ing over­charged for fish­ing three rods by hav­ing to buy two full an­nual li­cences.

The EA Head of Fish­eries Sarah Chare be­lieves the changes re­flect feed­back from an­glers na­tion­wide: “We hope that a 365-day li­cence, a three-rod li­cence and a free ju­nior li­cence will all play a part in get­ting more young peo­ple fish­ing and se­cur­ing the sport’s fu­ture,” she said.

“All money raised from rod li­cence sales is ploughed back into Eng­land’s fish­eries, and is used to fund a wide range of projects to im­prove fa­cil­i­ties for an­glers.”

The an­nounce­ment was also wel­comed by Angling Trust Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mark Lloyd.

He said: “We lob­bied the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to make these changes to the rod li­cence sys­tem, as many of the carp and spec­i­men an­glers we rep­re­sent had com­plained about the need for them to buy two sep­a­rate li­cences for four rods, when they wanted to fish with three.

“We also wanted a free ju­nior li­cence, as this re­moves a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to par­tic­i­pa­tion for young peo­ple con­sid­er­ing tak­ing up the sport. Well done to the En­vi­ron­ment Agency for lis­ten­ing and tak­ing an­glers’ con­cerns on board.”

Mean­while carpers were also cel­e­brat­ing, in­clud­ing Korda boss Danny Fair­brass, who has piled thou­sands of pounds into var­i­ous projects aimed at boost­ing ju­nior par­tic­i­pa­tion. He be­lieves the lat­est move can play a big part in halt­ing the de­cline in young­sters on the bank. He said: “This is ab­so­lutely bril­liant news, and the EA de­serves a lot of credit for lis­ten­ing to an­glers and chang­ing the sys­tem to pro­vide free rod li­cences for un­der-16s.

“This was needed to help get more kids hooked on angling and I hope this news gets out be­yond the angling world so that peo­ple who have never even con­sid­ered fish­ing be­fore are given still more

rea­son to get in­volved.

“The three-rod li­cence will also be well re­ceived,” Danny con­tin­ued. “Carp an­glers have ac­cepted the old rules of hav­ing to buy two li­cences through grit­ted teeth for many years, but this amend­ment rep­re­sents the mod­ern angling scene. All these changes can help pro­vide an even brighter fu­ture for fish­ing.”

These sen­ti­ments were echoed by Cur­rent Fish O’Ma­nia cham­pion and pro­fes­sional coach Andy May, who tu­tors dozens of ju­niors each year. He agrees that the his­toric news can pro­vide a spring­board to get­ting more ju­niors on the bank. He said: “Our sport needs a reg­u­lar in­flux of chil­dren if it is to con­tinue to grow and the de­ci­sion to give them a free rod li­cence is a fan­tas­tic way of achiev­ing just that.

“We all know how ad­dic­tive fish­ing is, and if we can tempt more kids into try­ing it out you can guar­an­tee they will get the bug and be­come keen an­glers.”

Mil­lions of an­glers will be adding ex­tra sup­port to the EA’s con­tin­ued work to im­prove fish­eries fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment that the price of the rod li­cence is to in­crease by 10 per cent from March 2017.

In the light of this the Angling Trust is call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to halt and re­verse the an­nual cuts to Grant in Aid to the EA for fish­eries man­age­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and reg­u­la­tion.

Chil­dren will be en­cour­aged through free li­cences.

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