The UK’s Environment Agency has shared how rod licence sales in England and Wales have helped it splash almost £21 million on investment in fisheries over the last year or so.

Its 2022/23 Annual Fisheries Report details the various ways rod licence income – generated from over 900,000 licence sales – has been spent.

The report reveals that £20,900,000 in income from fishing licences was further boosted by £1,400,000 of government funding.

This has been reinvested to maintain, improve and develop fisheries, carry out surveys of fish stocks and improvements to habitats not to mention supplying and restocking more than 450,000 coarse fish.

One of the key projects largely funded through this money is the Environment Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory, based in Cambridgeshire.

The laboratory carries out vital work to identify, monitor and limit the current and future threats such as fish diseases and non-native species on fisheries and the environment.  

This work is pivotal to the ongoing monitoring of the health of fish populations and informs fishery management actions, advice, and regulation.

In 2022/23, £562,000 was invested into the laboratory, which allowed for the assessment of 112 fish mortality events relating to potential fish diseases. In addition, 40 health checks were carried out to enable safe stocking of over half a million fish and over 1,500 queries were responded to in support of national incidents, fishery management advice and guidance.

Throughout the year, the EA has worked with over 1,000 partners including The Angling Trust, The Wild Trout Trust and the Freshwater Biological Association, delivering projects such as the Get Fishing campaign and the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative, welcoming new anglers to the sport and helping to increase the involvement in citizen science.

Heidi Stone, the Environment Agency’s fisheries manager, said: “Funding from fishing licence money feeds into every aspect of an angler’s experience, improving fish stocks, providing new facilities, and helping to protect our environment. Our fisheries staff also use their expertise to support wider environmental work with specialist advice and guidance.

“It is great to see the work that we have been able to carry out with our partners, using the money made to invest directly back into our fisheries and angling services.” 

Funded directly by fisheries licence income, the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) has backed 198 projects to improve and protect rivers, construct fish passes and enhance stillwater fisheries.

In addition, 39,159 fishing licence checks were carried out by Environment Agency enforcement teams with the support of the Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS). In all 1,949 offence reports were issued while 265 anglers were prosecuted for fishing without a licence.

You can read the full report at

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