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Anglers licence fee going down the river

England’s licence-paying anglers are being let down because the money they raise through licence fees is not all being spent to maintain and develop freshwater fisheries, as the law requires.

There have been cuts to the number of qualified employees in its fisheries service and without these skilled professionals; the agency is unlikely to conduct its duties competently.

The Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) has contacted the agency and warned against reviewing its corporate ambitions and rapidly restructuring itself before awaiting results of an internal Fisheries Refresh project.

The agency has responded advising that they are determined to secure the best deal for fisheries. The issues raised by the IFM have been identified and the agency was confident that it would deliver the best options we can achieve.

Our aim was to simplify how it worked, reduce bureaucracy, have the right people in the right place with the right skills and learn from experience outside the organisation, including the IFM, the Angling Trust and associated bodies.

The agency should show how its fishing licence income was spent. Clearly a very large slice of the £22 million raised funded its head office, only about 40 per cent going to its regions and areas to spend on fisheries. It is required to spend its income on fisheries so the work should be unaffected by cuts in Government grant-in-aid

The IFM said much fisheries work appeared to be directed at “mitigating and preventing” damage caused by others, including other agency functions such as flood defence.

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