Licence sales in England plummet by almost 14%
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Total rod licence sales in England have dropped by almost 14% since 2010, with corresponding income falling by £3 million.
Figures produced for the Angling Trades Association (ATA) reveal that sales increased by 37.5% to a record high of 1.4 million from 2000 to 2010, generating income of £24.1 million.
But total sales of coarse and trout and salmon licences in England and Wales had declined to less than 1.266 million by 2015/16, despite increased sales of short-term and concessionary licences.
The data was generated by the ATA’s CEO, Dr Bruno Broughton, for the Association’s Board meeting last week as background to a debate about recruiting more people into fishing.
The Environment Agency (EA) restructured licence types and costs this year. The changes came into effect last April and mean that an annual licence is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase rather than until the end of March.
There is also a new three-rod licence and a free licence for juniors aged 12 to 16. In addition, anglers can upgrade a short-term licence to a full one, with money already spent taken into account.
The new structure follows market research commissioned by the EA in 2015 to help it better understand, among other things, what motivates people to go fishing. The study showed that ‘rest and relaxation’ were the prime factors, with ‘catching fish’ of lesser importance. Time pressures were the main restrictions on people fishing.
National Fishing Month, the annual initiative to promote participation in fishing, is currently taking place and is orchestrated and managed by the ATA.
The exclusive licence data fuelled the ATA Board’s discussion about licence-based initiatives likely to boost recruitment into angling.
“Bringing lapsed anglers back into fishing is clearly one of the biggest opportunities,” said Bruno Broughton. “Research has revealed that half of lapsed anglers want to go fishing again. Time issues, poor health and simply getting out of the habit make up a large proportion of this low-hanging fruit and these people need encouragement and assistance to resume active angling.”
Currently there is no licence-free option for new adults or lapsed anglers, although one-day licences can be purchased online.