Sunday, 15 February 2009

Is the NEW LOOK rod licence really a break through?

I was really interested to learn of the new look rod licence about to hit the streets on 2nd March 2009. Nobody could deny that these new licences do look pretty cool, which maybe an incentive for people to buy them? They could almost become collectors items, unlike the current paper variety.

However, what has all this cost? Matt Crocker, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency says “The new-look rod licence will deliver real benefits to anglers. The system is now cheaper and quicker to administer – which allows us to spend more licence money on habitats improvements and fish stocking, while keeping the increase in rod licence fees to a minimum.”

Now this sounds great but what is the introduction of this new licence going to cost, there is no mention of that. Only a further line stating "Rod licence sales generate over £23 million in revenue each year, which the Environment Agency ploughs directly back into the sport."

If that is the case, why in the last 3 years have I not had my licence checked or one of my guests enjoying a guided fly fishing trip or fly fishing course? During those years I have been on the banks of venues across the West Country and indeed the UK alongside up to half a dozen clients ... not one check! This must mean that there is a huge amount of evasion going on and that those who do abide by the law and pay for a licence are picking up the tab for the rest who can't be bothered or actually know that they are very likely to get away with failing to purchase one.

There are no doubt some great advantages to the new licence such as the modern credit card size and material, which makes it completely waterproof. There are also fewer personal details on the licence to reduce the risk of identity fraud should it be lost or stolen. Even so I still wonder if the money required to implicate this change would have been more wisely spent in policing the banks of our water ways rather than providing us all with a "pretty" card that will spend most of its days in the dark!

Its an interesting subject and I would love to know what you think about it so check out the vote on the right hand side of the blog. And to buy your new 2009 licence go here or better still support your local post office who will also be administering licences. Below follows a table of the 2009/10 rates with some small increases. Concessions apply to persons aged from 65 +, persons in receipt of disability living allowance & blue badge parking concession holders, juniors who are 12 years old on the date of buying the licence but have not reached the age of 17.

Rod licence prices for 2009-10 season

Licence Category Non-Migratory Trout, Char, Freshwater Fish and Eels Salmon, Migratory Trout *
Full Annual £26 £70
Concessionary Annual (1) £17.25 £46.50
Junior Annual (2) £5 £5
Eight day Licence £9.50 £22.50
One day Licence £3.50 £7.75

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