River Fishing Re-Opens with Improvements for Anglers and Fish
As anglers return to the riverbanks for the start of the new coarse fishing season (16th June), the Environment Agency is pleased to announce that rod licence income has again been used to fund projects to improve rivers across the south east of England.
In the region the sale of nearly 390,000 fishing licences in 2011-12 has supported an extensive programme of work to maintain, improve and develop fisheries, which included £900k of rod licence money being spent on projects to enhance stillwaters and rivers, stock fish, provide disabled access and develop angling.
Money generated from licence sales also pays for surveys of fish populations, ensures the Agency can react to calls about fish in distress or illegal incidents and enables free advice to be given to fisheries and angling clubs.
Examples of the projects funded include:
- At Penton Hook Lock Island on the River Thames we worked with volunteers from the Thames Anglers Conservancy to construct five new angling platforms and place 7 tons of gravel into the river to improve chub and dace spawning habitat.
- At Abshot Pond near Portsmouth work is underway to enhance bank side plants, provide all-ability fishing swims and to restock fish after the non-native fish topmouth gudgeon was removed as it is a serious threat to native fish species.
- A new stillwater fishery is being created near Hickstead in West Sussex in partnership with Hassocks & District Angling Society. Incorporated into the site design, which was once an arable field, are scrapes (shallow seasonal ponds) and a native hedgerow and tree planting scheme. The fishery will include swims which will enable access for disabled anglers.
- In London angling has had a boost with the appointment of Grant Fear as London Angling Development Office in a new joint initiative between the Environment Agency, Thames 21 and the Angling Trust.
In addition to the rod licence income, other funds to improve river fisheries have also been added. An estimated £5.6m additional money has been spent on works such as fish passes that will benefit fish populations and help meet Water Framework Directive requirements.
“We hope that anglers venturing onto rivers will be rewarded with improving catches from the efforts of the Environment Agency to address some of the factors affecting fish in our rivers,” said Lawrence Talks, Environment Agency, South East fisheries specialist.
All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods. Licences can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the Environment Agency’s telesales line on 0844 800 5386. Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence.
Rod licences run from 1 April to 31 March and fishing without one can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.
Before going fishing make sure you have a new licence for 2012-13.
For more stories of how rod licence money is used to enhance fisheries in the south east visit: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/news/105247.aspx