Anglers help pay for improvements to rivers

The River Nene at Denford

The River Nene at Denford

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As anglers return to the riverbanks for the start of the new fishing season on Saturday, the Environment Agency has revealed that rod licence income has again been used to fund projects to improve rivers across the east of England.

In the region the sale of nearly 250,000 fishing licences in 2011-12 has helped pay for fisheries work with £390k spent last year on projects to improve habitats for fish or provide better facilities for anglers.

Money generated from licence sales pays for surveys of fish populations, ensures the agency can react to calls about fish in distress or illegal incidents and enables free advice to be given to fisheries and angling clubs.

One example of the projects funded is the Nene Backwater Project which has been progressing to restore natural features and improve the habitat quality of the river by reconnecting historic channels. The latest to be improved was at Chester Farm near Irchester, Northamptonshire, where the de-silting operation will provide a new area for fish and other wildlife.

At Worlingham near Norwich the agency has worked with the Broads Authority to fund 10 new angling platforms on the River Waveney. These will provide safe and easy access to a popular river for anglers.

In addition to the rod licence income, other funds to improve river fisheries have also been added. An estimated £1.7m additional money has been spent on works such as fish passes that will benefit fish populations and help meet Water Framework Directive requirements.

Roger Handford, regional fisheries specialist, said: “We hope that anglers venturing onto rivers will be rewarded with improving catches from the efforts of the Environment Agency to address some of the factors affecting fish in our rivers.”

All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods. Licences can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the Environment Agency’s telesales line on 0844 800 5386. Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence.

Rod licences run from 1 April to 31 March and fishing without one can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.

Before going fishing at the weekend, make sure you have a new licence for 2012-13.