UK junior fishing licence numbers rise by more than 25%
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Recreational fishing in the UK has received a major boost with the news of a healthy rise in the number of junior angling licences issued since the start of the season.
The Environment Agency, the UK body that issues permits to fish across the country, has hailed the offer of free fishing licences for 12-to-16-year-olds as a major driver of a 25.7% increase in the number of junior anglers. Figures show a rise in fishing licence ‘sales’ from 52,117 at the end of the 2016/17 season to 65,487 up to August 21st, 2017. From 2009 to 2016 there had been a 52.6% decline in junior licence sales.
Kevin Austin, 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 of them are enjoying outdoor activities. We are 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 this great sport.
“Today’s children are the anglers of tomorrow. It is important that we attract them to the sport early, and offering a free fishing licence is one way to achieve that. Not only does it offer great health and educational benefits, angling also generates over £1 billion for the UK economy and creates more than 37,000 full-time jobs.”
The free junior fishing licences are funded by income generated from adults. The scheme has been supported by hundreds of fishing events run alongside partners, including the Angling Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing and the National Fishing Month. These included free family fun days and taster sessions to help remove the barriers for juniors and families, enabling them to consider taking up the sport.