Rod licence sales boom as lockdown eases

As the UK lockdown eases, the trade looks set for a boost as anglers all around the country seem desperate to go fishing again.

Environment Agency (EA) figures released today (Saturday, June 13th) show a huge surge in fishing licence sales after the government lifted restrictions on outdoor activities.

Between May 13th, when the restrictions were lifted, and June 9th, more than 335,000 licences were sold compared to 142,000 from the start of the year to end of March 2020, a rise of over 230 per cent in less than two months. This also represents a rise of more than 200,000 more than the same period last year.

Both the EA and the Angling Trust, the UK’s governing body for the sport, believe the rise is due to existing anglers embracing the opportunity to start fishing again, together with those taking up the sport for the first time or returning to it after a long absence.

The rise in interest comes at a prime time for anglers with the end of the close season for coarse fishing on rivers just around the corner, on June 16th.

An EA spokesman said: “Responsible fishing is an excellent way to engage with nature and enjoy being outdoors, which in turn can provide positive health and welfare benefits.

“Fishing really is an activity that most people, of any age, can participate in and enjoy. It is important to remember that you must have a valid fishing licence and adhere to current government guidelines on social distancing.”

Jamie Cook, Angling Trust CEO, added: “We are delighted that ministers embraced the recommendations in our When We Fish Again report and authorised an early resumption of angling in England to Covid-compliant guidelines. In these difficult times we believe that our sport has much to offer in terms of social, health and economic wellbeing.”

Competition fishing is also allowed under strict social distancing guidelines, prompting the restarting of some major events, such as Fish ‘O’ Mania.


•In England and Wales you need a fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout and freshwater fish with a rod and line. Anglers found fishing without a licence can face fines of up to £2,500.

Author: David Haynes

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