Latest Environment Agency (EA) figures show that its enforcement teams booked 965 rod licence cheats during the month of May from a total of more than 13,000 licence checks across England. May falls within the coarse fishing ‘close season’ – when coarse angling is suspended on rivers and a few canals, and while some licence cheats were also fishing rivers during the close season: the majority of offenders were caught on stillwaters where fishing is still allowed during these months.
“The number of anglers caught red-handed is testament to the hard work of our enforcement teams,” said Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency. “Worryingly, it still shows a blatant disregard for fisheries and the environment.
“The EA relies on the income from rod licences to continue the important work we do to protect fish stocks, improve fisheries and encourage more people to take up fishing.”
Last year, Environment Agency officers checked more than 70,000 licences and prosecuted more than 2,800 licence cheats. Between them, they were ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of £600,000.
Annual rod licences for trout and coarse fishing remain at £5 for 12 to 16-year-olds, £18 for senior and disabled concessions and £27 for adults. Children under 12 can fish for free.