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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 08:39 GMT
Extra fish planned for UK rivers
Rod licence sales help fund the agency's fisheries
The Environment Agency plans to increase the number of fish in English and Welsh rivers in a bid to improve the natural habitat and boost business.

The agency said fishing was one of the most popular leisure pursuits, helping sustain 20,000 jobs in the industry and local economies near rivers.

The sport, which generates spending of 3bn a year, has also helped reduced crime through youth schemes, it said.

Money from rod licence sales helps the agency manage fisheries.

Anglers aged 12 years or over, fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in most rivers in England, Wales or the Border Esk need to apply for an Environment Agency rod licence.

Key influence

The agency's strategy builds on an initiative in Wales and aims to increase the number of fish in rivers by 2011.

"Fisheries is about more than just fishing and our work is a key influence on local economies throughout England and Wales," said Dafydd Evans, head of fisheries.

"Angling creates jobs and prosperity, extends visitor seasons and creates more business for restaurants, pubs, shops and hotels."

The report also details the "significant" social benefits of angling.

One scheme in Rowheath Park, Birmingham launched three years ago introduced children who had been involved in youth crime and truancy to fishing, it said.

About 98% of those on the scheme have not reoffended.

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