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Sales of junior fishing licences across England and Wales have received a welcome boost over the summer, according to the latest figures from the Environment Agency.

The figures reveal that sales increased by 25.7 per cent from 2016/17. Figures increased from 52,117 at the end of 2016/17 to 65,487 as of August 21st, 2017.

The increase in sales is welcomed by the Environment Agency, which highlighted the challenge of attracting juniors to the sport given the popularity of game consoles, TV and social media. The rise was helped by last year’s changes to fishing licences, which included making them free to anyone aged 12 to 16.

Figures from 2009 to 2016 showed a 52.6 per cent decline in junior licence sales. It is hoped that the recent increase marks the beginning of an upward trend that will help secure the future of the sport.

The free junior fishing licence is supported by hundreds of partnership fishing events run alongside partners including the Angling Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing and National Fishing Month. The events incorporate free family fun days and taster sessions, which help to remove barriers for juniors and families, enabling them to consider taking up fishing.

Kevin Austin, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “Children today have a wealth of technology at their fingertips, and coupled with the costs parents face, it’s easy to see why fewer children are enjoying outdoor activities.

“We are really pleased to see that a growing number of young people are taking up the offer of a free junior licence, helping them to enjoy the great outdoors and this great sport.

“Today’s children are the anglers of tomorrow. It’s important that we attract them to the sport early and offering a free fishing licence is one way to achieve that.

“Not only does fishing offer great health and educational benefits, angling generates more than £1 billion for the UK economy and creates in excess of 37,000 full-time jobs.”

Author: Simon Calvert

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