Licences Massive shake-up to rules sees kids fish for free
...and new three-rod licence will please nation’s carp anglers
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.