How we spend fishing licence income

How is my fishing licence income spent?

As spring arrives many anglers will now be looking forward to getting out to enjoy the better weather and longer evenings. Spring and summer are also the times of year when most anglers renew or buy a licence for the first time. But when people exchange their hard earnt money for their fishing licence do they actually consider what they are paying for and investing in?

The Environment Agency (EA) have just released their Fisheries Annual Report for 21/22 which details how and where fishing licence income is spent. During the financial year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 the EA sold 934,760 fishing licences which generated an income of £21,854,093. So how has this income helped promote fishing?

The report gives details on all the work the EA does with the support of a brilliant network of approximately 1000 partners. These include organisations involved in angling such as the Angling Trust, Canal and Rivers Trust, as well as a large number of local angling clubs, fishery owners, local councils and charities. With the help of these partners, licence income is able to deliver far more as match funding helps ensure that every pound from the licence fee income is used to its full potential.

The report highlights a range of diverse actions where fishing licence income is invested, ranging from fisheries enforcement, habitat improvements and fish stocking, to fish stock surveys, responding to incidents and regulating fish movements to help prevent disease. 

For example, in 2021/22, licence sales also helped to fund 30 fish pass projects and remove 16 weirs and barriers, opening up rivers to encourage the free movement of fish. Installing structures to bypass obstacles, such as weirs, allows fish to access new feeding areas and breeding ground to spawn successfully.

The annual report also outlines how our Enforcement officers helped enforce fisheries regulations and protect fish stocks. In 2021/22, they checked 41,446 fishing licences, issued 1,936 offence reports and successfully prosecuted 726 anglers for fishing without a licence.

Fish restocking, which helps fish populations to recover following environmental incidents, is another vital piece of work made possible by licence income. In 2021/22 almost 627,495 coarse fish were stocked into rivers and still waters around the country. All of the fish were collected from the EA’s Fish Farm at Calverton in Nottingham and carefully transported using specialist equipment. 

So remember when you buy your fishing licence, please remember all the good work that you are helping to support. Your licence fee funds projects that ensures our fisheries are sustainable and healthy meaning that anglers can enjoy the sport for decades to come.