From 1 April 2002 the price of a full licence will increase by 1 and the price of a concessionary licence for senior and eligible disabled anglers will rise by 50 pence.

Full non-migratory trout and coarse licences will increase to 21 and a concessionary licence for senior and eligible disabled anglers to 10.50. Full salmon and migratory trout licences will increase to 60 and concessionary licences to 30.

There is no increase in the cost of one-day and eight-day short-term licences, or the junior coarse and trout licence introduced last year. In 2001, the first year of the junior licence, the number of licences sold to 12 to 16 year olds has risen by 30,000 to over 110,000.

Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dr David Clarke said:

"We welcome the Government's approval of the small increase in duties. It will allow the Agency to continue with its extensive programme of fisheries restoration, re-stocking and habitat improvement.

"The introduction of the cut price junior coarse and trout licence has been successful in encouraging more young people to take up angling. Young anglers are the future of the sport and, as well as reducing the cost of the junior licence, the Agency is improving their fishing opportunities. Working with other Government bodies and angling organisations we aim to develop urban fisheries and provide coaching for at least 5,000 youngsters this coming year."

The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease greatly affected licence sales last year. Many fisheries were closed in the early part of the year and sales to the end of May were 1.5 million down on the previous year.

Dr. Clarke said:

"As the countryside was reopened, we took the opportunity to promote fishing using a series of TV and radio adverts. The ads successfully raised awareness among anglers and contributed to the recovery of licence sales."

"Sales of coarse and trout licences are now slightly higher than at the same time last year. Salmon licence sales, however, are down by 25% as the areas worst affected by Foot and Mouth, such as Cumbria, Devon, Cornwall and Wales, hold some of the best salmon fishing rivers."

The new prices come into force for the new licence year, which begins on 1 April. All licence types can be bought at any Post Office in England and Wales, and certain types directly from the Agency through its telephone sales line (0870 166 2662) or its new Internet sales service at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish. A system of purchasing rod licences by Direct Debit will be trialled this year.