Licenced to Fish
Simon Cooper has his say on certain aspects of the new admimnistration and structure of the rod licencing system.
There has been much discussion around the National Fishing Licence now that the administration and enforcement has passed from the Environment Agency to the Angling Trust. It seemed the perfect opportunity for changes, so I for one am delighted that a press release last week heralded innovation for 2017.
Most logically your licence will now run for a year from the date of purchase; in the past all licences ran from 01 April regardless of when bought so it was a positive disincentive for anyone considering buying one later in the year.
The release continues saying that licences are to be 'free for junior anglers'. They don't state exactly the age for a junior but I'm assuming from the currently structure (free for under 12s, reduced rate for 12-16 years) this will mean all under 16s are free.
If this is correct huge high fives and congratulations to whoever pushed this through. This is a massive shot in the arm for all those who are working hard to promote fishing in communities and schools by removing a licence that was both an administrative and financial barrier to participation.
There is a slight sting in the tail though as the news release ends with the announcement that licence fees will be increased in 2017. All that said I don't think we can begrudge this as it will be the first rise in seven years. Do take comfort that all the money does goes directly to fishery work, plus a whole lot more that comes our way via grant-in-aid from the government. If you want to see where the money is spent in your area click HERE and you will see some interesting stuff going on.
My one disappointment is that not possessing a fishing licence will remain a criminal offence. It seems to me a Victorian solution to a problem that is better solved in other ways. Criminalising an innocent pastime is a crime in itself; far better to devise penalties and incentives in the same way that train or parking tickets are collected. I'm minded of something I heard from a local squash club where they had a problem with players wearing black soled shoes which marked the court, despite numerous notices stating 'Do Not Wear Black Soled Shoes'. Then someone changed the wording to read 'Please Check Your Opponent is Not Wearing Black Soled Shoes'. Lo and behold with a combination of a nudge and peer group pressure the problem went away.
Let us save the long arm of the law for truly heinous crimes against angling.
Flyfishing.co.uk is delighted to bring you Simon’s feature, which was first published in his ‘Fishing Breaks’ Newsletter.
Simon’s company, Fishing Breaks, based in the heart of the River Test Valley, offers some of the finest chalk stream fly fishing available in the UK – and a whole lot more. Check out their website HERE
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