New figures reveal 1 in 11 anglers are junior anglers

12th April 2018
Rod licence
Southport angler Eddy Edmondson

Fishing licence sales show a huge increase in popularity among children with 1 in 11 anglers being juniors according to new figures released by the Environment Agency today.

The introduction of free fishing licences for children in 2017 has led to a 53% increase with more than 79,000 junior licences issued last year.

The figures were welcomed by the agency in light of challenges in attracting juniors to the sport given the popularity of game consoles, TV and social media.

Kevin Austin, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

While today’s figures are welcomed and encouraging, we mustn’t rest on our laurels. Today’s children are the anglers of tomorrow and it’s important we attract them to the sport early. We’re really pleased to see that a growing number of young people are taking up the offer of a free junior licence, helping them to enjoy the great outdoors and this great sport.

Children today have a wealth of technology at their fingertips, and coupled with the costs parents face, it’s easy to see why fewer children are enjoying outdoor activities. Through our continued investment into fishing, our aim is to ensure the sport continues for generations to come.

From April, the age of free junior licences change from 12-16 to 13-16. Junior fishing licence work will continue to be supported by Environment Agency partners such as Angling Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing and National Fishing Month. Those under thirteen will not be required to purchase a licence.

All fishing licence income is used to fund work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries. The Environment Agency works in partnership with the Angling Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing and National Fishing Month to offer free fishing events and activities.

To find an event close to you take a look at get fishing. To buy a licence online visit:

Notes to editor

  • Figures quoted are for England and Wales
  • Juniors still need to get a licence in order to fish but the licence will be free at get a fishing licence.
  • These changes have also been implemented across Wales. Natural Resources Wales is the lead.
  1. Junior sales
  • 2015/16: 60,762
  • 2016/17: 52,117

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