Environment Agency reveals how licence cash funds fish habitats

13th January 2022


Anglers bought more than one million fishing licences in 2020/21, with the money raised funding improvements to the environment and fish habitats, according to latest figures.

Anglers bought more than one million fishing licences in 2020/21, with the money raised funding improvements to the environment and fish habitats, according to latest figures.

The Environment Agency’s Annual Fisheries Report reveals 1,090,068 licences were sold to anglers between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. This generated £24,583,342, which has been reinvested into incident responses, enforcement action and habitat improvements to support fisheries.

Combined with government funding and partner contributions, this income allowed the Environment Agency to invest £33 million through the Water Environment Improvement Fund (WEIF) to enhance the environment in which fish stocks rely on to survive. Almost 500,000 coarse fish were stocked into rivers and still waters around the country, including more than 130,000 barbel and almost 82,000 roach.

The income funded improvements to fish habitats on 575 kilometres of rivers in England and 153 hectares of still water fisheries as well as the Environment Agency’s response to 391 incidents involving dead or dying fish, including pollution and disease.

Licence sales helped to fund 45 “fish pass” projects to open up rivers to encourage the free movement of fish. This included installing structures to bypass obstacles such as weirs to allow fish to access new feeding areas and breeding grounds.

The additional income has also funded facilities for less able anglers including accessible toilets, safer platforms for wheelchair users and improved access to fisheries sites under the Environment Agency’s national angling strategy.

“Whether it’s preventing illegal fishing and poaching, responding to incidents or safeguarding habitats – all licence income is invested directly back into our fisheries and angling services,” said deputy director for fisheries Kevin Austin.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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