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Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s blog.
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Why every angler should buy a rod licence, online, every year
THE two certainties in life, famously, are death and taxes.
There’s one tax I don’t mind paying, and that’s my annual rod licence to the Environment Agency. I fish for salmon and sea trout, and so it costs me £72 a year, but I get more value from it than I do from my TV licence.
The most important reason to buy a licence is because the money raised (getting on for £25 million a year) helps pay for the EA to improve our fishing. There is a huge amount of work around the country to monitor and improve fish stocks, to prosecute poachers which is mainly funded by rod licence revenue.
Of course we’d like more transparency about how our money is spent within the EA, and for a bigger say in the way it is spent. The Angling Trust has been successful in getting national reports on expenditure and regional reports about what it being done with our money and our regional forums are an opportunity for anglers to come and let the Agency know about their priorities, but there is still some way to go.
All that aside, there is no doubt that without those funds our freshwater fisheries would be in a far worse state than they are.
Paying a licence has other benefits too. It gives anglers a voice within Government and the Environment Agency – no pay, no say. This is a comparison that we have used to good effect when comparing angling with canoeing and is a very good defence against people who criticise angling.
We can quickly demonstrate that we pay £25 million towards conserving our rivers, as well as volunteering tens of thousands of hours and substantial cash sums to conservation work through clubs, the Wild Trout Trust and the River Trusts. Buying a licence gives us the moral high ground.
Finally, if you don’t have a licence you can get prosecuted, which will mean a criminal record and a big fine. More than 1,000 people have been prosecuted this year for fisheries offences and although many anglers have never had their licence checked, there are many who have.
I have had mine checked twice in more than 30 years of fishing; once fishing a match and another when I had just spent 10 minutes wading carefully out into the middle of the North Tyne to fish a particularly awkward pool tail!
The Government has recently banned all marketing by its agencies, which means that the TV advertising and other campaigns run by the EA have been cut. This is had the effect of reversing a decade of increasing rod licence sales and less money coming into the Agency in the past three years. It seems like a crazy policy to me, but there it is.
The Angling Trust is keen to play our part in trying to make sure that every angler buys a licence and we’re having a meeting this weekend with some of our members to discuss whether more could be done by clubs and fisheries to increase compliance. If you have any ideas that might help, please e-mail the Trust via email@example.com
I think that fishing without a licence is out of order. It is like not buying a round in a session in the pub – you’re prepared to take the benefits of everyone else’s generosity, but not contribute yourself.
If you’ve been fishing without one, you can buy one here: http://www.postoffice.co.uk/rod-fishing-licence By getting it online, more of your money is spent on protecting our fish and less on administration. The best way is by Direct Debit, so you don’t have to remember every April.
While you’re at it, why not pick up a £25 membership of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal at www.anglingtrust.net ?
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