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English rod licence sales surge more than 230%

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The sale of rod licences in England have soared following the resumption of fishing in May.

Figures released this week show a huge surge in fishing licence sales in England after the Government lifted restrictions on outdoor activities.

Between May 13th, when the restrictions were lifted, and June 9th, over 335,000 licences were sold compared to 142,000 from the start of the year to the end of March 2020, a rise of over 230% in less than two months. This also represents a rise of over 200,000 on the same period last year.

The Environment Agency, the organisation responsible for the sale of rod licences, and the sport’s governing body, the Angling Trust, believe the rise is due to existing anglers embracing the opportunity to start fishing again, together with those taking up the sport for the first time or returning to fishing after a long absence – prompted by the pursuit of new hobbies during lockdown.  

The rise in interest in fishing is great news for the tackle industry and comes at a prime time for anglers with the end of the close season for coarse fishing on rivers ending on Tuesday (June 16th).

Dr Graeme Storey, Environment Agency Acting Deputy Director for Fisheries and the Natural Environment, said: “Since the lifting of restrictions on recreational angling it has been encouraging to see not only anglers returning to the sport, but also people trying fishing for the first time.

“Responsible fishing is an excellent way to engage with nature and enjoy being outdoors, which in turn can provide positive health and welfare benefits. As a consequence of the revenue generated through the sale of rod licences, anglers are at the heart of protecting and improving the very things they care about.”

Jamie Cook, Angling Trust CEO, said: “The Angling Trust is delighted that ministers embraced the recommendations in our When We Fish Again report and authorised an early resumption of angling in England to COVID-19 compliant guidelines.

“We are also delighted to be witnessing something of a renaissance in angling with former anglers returning to the sport and newcomers trying fishing for the first time. In these difficult times we believe that our sport has much to offer in terms social, health and economic wellbeing.”

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