Licence sales soar as UK rebounds from COVID-19
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Latest licence sales figures for the UK reveal that angling has rebounded from COVID-19 and the number of people fishing could overtake last year.
Between May 13th, when restrictions were lifted, and June 9th, more than 335,000 licences were purchased, an increase of more than 200,000 on the same period last year.
When added to the 160,072 licences sold in April – and given the added incentive of the return of the Take a Friend Fishing (TAFF) campaign on July 4th – it is hoped the trend will boost annual licence sales over the 940,974 total sold last year.
The news will be a shot in the arm for the tackle industry, which has endured a bleak time since restrictions were imposed in March, which included the closure of tackle shops.
“The increase in licence sales is a very welcome sight for the trade,” said Angling Trades Association (ATA) Chairman Andrew Race, Managing Director of scales manufacturer Reuben Heaton.
“Over the next twelve months, the ATA will be focused on helping both the trade and sport to recover from COVID-19 whilst working closely with other major stakeholders to retain and build on 2020 participation levels through initiatives such as TAFF and National Fishing Month.
“The crisis has focused minds on lifestyle and the importance of leisure time. People have come to value their downtime again and angling is a perfect vehicle for that.”
The increase in demand for licences was spurred by an early resumption of angling and the opening of tackle shops on June 13th.
The Environment Agency, which manages licence sales in the UK, is delighted with the surge in sales, especially as they include a significant number of newcomers and returnees to the sport.
“It has been encouraging to see not only anglers returning to the sport, but also people trying fishing for the first time,” said the Agency’s Acting Deputy Director for Fisheries, Dr Graeme Storey.
The Environment Agency’s annual UK licence figures run from April 1st to March 31st. Last year’s sales generated more than £20.9m in income.