THE Environment Agency have revealed the new free junior rod licence has seen a 25.7 per cent rise to 65,487 since being introduced in April.

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And the new three-rod coarse licence has seen a boom of 100,104 paying £45 a pop if not entitled to concessions.

Figures from 2009 to 2016 showed a 52.6 per cent decline in junior 12-16-year-old licences reaching just 52,117 in 2016.

Kevin Austin, new 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’re 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 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 over £1 billion for the UK economy and creates over 37,000 full time jobs.”

But it wasn’t all good news as the overall figure for licence sales last year for 2016/17 was down 1.57 per cent to 1,191,142 licences.

And the EA vastly increased the cost of one and eight day licences in April by a whopping 60 per cent to £6 from £3.75 for one day and the week £12 from £10 and has seen a huge decline.

At the same point last year the two short-term licences went down from 265, 572 to 199,733.

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