The Angling Trust, which administers the fund on behalf of the Environment Agency, is seeking applications from clubs, commercial venues, councils, charities and community organisations by 20th September, for grants worth up to £5,000. The grants are only available for projects benefiting angling for coarse fish and non-migratory trout.
The themes in this round are:
Fish protection and predation management
Around 20 awards will be offered for fencing, fish refuges and other non-lethal measures to protect fish stocks from unsustainable predation by otters, fish-eating birds and other wildlife.
Parks and other public venues
Up to 30 awards will be made to councils (or to councils and clubs working in partnership), to improve angling facilities at park ponds and other council-owned venues.
Access to river angling
Up to 30 awards will be made to projects that improve access to river fishing and/or enhance bankside facilities. In judging entries, preference will be given to clubs and other organisations that actively help anglers find information on where to fish on rivers, e.g. by providing online information and booking systems.
To encourage more young people to give fishing a go, and make the most of the free junior fishing licence introduced this year by the Environment Agency, we will be especially keen to receive applications from clubs and other angling organisations that have structures in place (e.g. a dedicated junior section) or run schemes to help kids fish enjoyably and safely.
This is the first of two funding releases planned for this year, with the second due to be launched in November. The themes for this second round are still under consideration, but will almost certainly include support for improvements at stillwater angling venues.
The Angling Trust will also shortly be giving details of the winning projects from last year’s AIF rounds, which included work to improve access at fisheries for disabled anglers, urgently-needed repairs and improvements, otter-fencing and other measures to protect fish stocks, and 40 bursaries to help train anglers to become qualified, licensed coaches.
Since its launch in February 2015, the AIF has distributed almost £1million of fishing licence income to 240 projects, supporting angling improvements estimated to be worth an incredible £2.4million.
Dr Kevin Austin, Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency, said: “It’s great to see more money being allocated through the Angling Improvement Fund which will help to improve fisheries and increase access to angling. This additional investment will provide more opportunities for people to go fishing, encourage sales of fishing licences, help to protect fisheries from unsustainable predation and, as a consequence, allow us to do more to benefit fisheries.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said: “The Angling Improvement Fund goes from strength to strength and demonstrates what can be achieved through partnership working between the Environment Agency, the Angling Trust and most importantly clubs and fisheries the length and breadth of the country. This investment into angling is from funds raised by sales of fishing licences and we urge all clubs and fisheries to help ensure that everyone fishing on their waters has a valid licence at all times.”
Further information on how to apply, including application forms and guidance for applicants is available on the Angling Trust website here.