The Environment Agency have launched a new campaign to increase the number of people going fishing and raise awareness of the need for a fishing licence in England.
Fishing is good for you
Going fishing is about much more than just catching a fish. It provides an opportunity to spend time outdoors, away from the pressures of normal life.
Spending time near water has been found to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing, increasing happiness and enjoyment of life, as well as reducing anxiety levels.
Fishing is a great way to spend time relaxing alone, competing with friends or meeting new people. It can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities and in many different locations, with 53% of England’s population living within 5 miles of a waterway.
Benefits of buying a fishing licence
Responsible fishing provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and feel the range of benefits that spending time outdoors can bring. However, it is important to remember that if you decide to return to fishing or take it up for the first time, you must have a valid fishing licence.
Anyone aged 13 or above who goes freshwater fishing in England needs a fishing licence, but they are free for 13–16-year-olds. The income raised by the Environment Agency from fishing licence sales is used to:
- Fund work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries,
- Improve habitats for fish,
- Support angling facilities and angling clubs and help more people get into fishing,
- Tackle illegal fishing, and
- Work with partners to boost fishing opportunities.
In England and Wales you need a fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line.
Buying a fishing licence is quick and easy. It is low-cost, with licences starting from just £30 for a whole year. If you fish without a licence, you could face a fine of up to £2,500.
Did you know?
Angling creates over 37,000 full time jobs and generates over £1 billion for the UK economy.
In 2019 to 20, fishing licence sales helped the Environment Agency to:
- Stock over half a million coarse fish into rivers and still waters,
- Run 1,525 angling participation events in partnership with the Angling Trust, encouraging 40,000 people to try fishing for the first time,
- Create a healthier water environment, with over 1,700 km of rivers improved,
- Increase biodiversity, creating or restoring over 3,000 hectares of wildlife habitat,
- Cut serious pollution incidents, down to 443 for the year as a whole, and
- Build more than 100 fish passes, allowing the free movement of fish through rivers.
New to Fishing?
Local Angling and Fishing clubs are one of the best ways to find suitable fishing spots. They often have private lakes and ponds or have sections of canals and rivers for coarse fishing and fly fishing. Many clubs arrange matches, thereby giving access to alternative angling spots not normally available to the everyday angler.
There are also many purpose-built lakes now available which are stocked full of fish and for a small day ticket fee, anyone can go fishing. These often offer easy and secure access to the water.
Other useful resources:
The Angling Trust is the national governing body representing all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in England. They lobby government, campaign on environmental and angling issues and run national and international competitions. They fight pollution, commercial over-fishing at sea, over-abstraction, poaching, unlawful navigation, local bans and a host of other threats to angling.
Did you know that they look after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, plus eight commercial fisheries, and you can fish almost all of this? Find out what you need, when and where you can go fishing.
They are an angling charity which helps provide positive opportunities for young people and communities. They deliver fun and interactive training around the sport of angling.