Press release

Free fishing for children

Environment Agency announces shake-up of rod licences after listening to calls from anglers

The Environment Agency has announced a shake-up of rod licences, following feedback from anglers all over England. The changes include a free rod licence for junior anglers which is hoped to encourage more young people to give fishing a go and secure the future of the sport.

Other moves include a rolling rod licence that lasts for 365 days from the day you buy it – rather than only running up until the end of March regardless of when it was bought.

The third change is one which carp and specimen anglers have long campaigned for: the use of 3 rods having just 1 licence, rather than needing 2.

There are also some small increases to standard charges – for example, a coarse fishing licence has been raised from £27 to £30. This is the first time the cost of a rod licence has increased since 2010 and all additional income generated will all go back into improving fisheries and services for anglers.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

These exciting changes reflect feedback from our customers. We hope that a 365 day licence, a 3-rod licence and a free junior licence can all play an important part in getting more young people fishing and securing the future of the sport.

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.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

This shake-up for rod licences is great news for anglers across the country. The changes announced today will help simplify the system and encourage more young people to get involved with the sport and connect with nature.

The Angling Trust is the national representative and governing body for angling in England and they welcome the changes.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal, said:

The Angling Trust 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 2 separate licences, for 4 rods, when they wanted to fish with 3, so the new extra rod licence option is very welcome indeed.

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.

The Environment Agency listened to a wide range of anglers, partners and interested organisations to ensure the new prices and products meet customer needs.

There are flexible options to choose from too – another change is the ability to upgrade from a 1 or 8 day licence to a full licence with the price of the 1 or 8 day deducted. This is to encourage more people to keep fishing once they have tried it and make it cheaper for anglers who currently buy several short term licences.

The changes come into effect in March 2017 with new licences valid from 1 April.

Notes to editors

  • Juniors will still need to register and receive a licence in order to fish but the licence will be free.
  • These changes are also being implemented across Wales. Natural Resources Wales is the lead.
  • Anglers are legally required to hold a valid fishing licence to fish in rivers, lakes and other inland waters in England (except the River Tweed) and the Border Esk (and its tributaries) in Scotland.
  • A rod licence is a legal requirement for fishing. Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers, can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine. Last year in England, the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.
  • For the minority who flout the rules, the most common offence is fishing without a valid licence. Fishing without a valid licence could land you with a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record.

Coarse and Trout

Type of licence Current price New price from 1st April 2017
Full (April – March) £27 £30
Full (concessionary) senior and disabled £18 £20
Short term 1 day £3.75 £6
Short term 8 day £10 £12
Junior (12 – 16yrs) £5 Free
3 rod licence NA – new product £45
3 rod licence (concessionary) senior and disabled NA – new product £30

Salmon and Sea Trout

Type of licence Current price New price from 1st April 2017
Full £72 £82
Full (concessionary) senior and disabled £48 £54
Short term 1 day £8 £12
Short term 8 day £23 £27
Junior £5 Free