Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Angler artist lands design catch

The coarse fishing licence features a perch lunging for a baited hook

A wildlife artist's work is about to become highly familiar to anglers after being chosen to adorn on the new UK fishing rod licence.

David Miller's design will feature on the permit in the first major makeover the licence has had in 140 years.

The Carmarthenshire artist's designs will replace the old fashioned paper version carried by anglers in the UK since the 1860s.

Over one million of the credit card-sized licences will be distributed.

They have been designed to prevent identity theft.

The cards have fewer personal details on them and also have a barcode so bailiffs can verify them.

The Environment Agency said it expected to issue over one million of the waterproof cards from 2 March, making Mr Miller, a lifelong angler, the most widely distributed wildlife artist in the UK.

The new coarse fishing licence features a perch lunging for a baited hook, while the salmon licence shows a ray of light illuminating a silvery grey salmon under the water.

Mr Miller said: "I do feel honoured to have been chosen to provide the artwork for the new rod licence."

He lives in a wooded valley near the Taf and Towy estuaries and paints mostly British wildlife, usually in oils.

New look rod licence
The salmon licence shows a ray of light illuminating a silvery grey salmon

Internationally, his larger fish paintings now hang in boardrooms in London, Tokyo and New York.

Licence sales hit a 10-year high in 2008, which the Environment Agency said showed a resurgence in interest in angling.

The cost of the licence ranges between 3.50 for one day of coarse fishing to 70 for a seasonal licence to fish for salmon.

Andy Schofield of the Environment Agency Wales said: "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 improving and protecting the fisheries of Wales while keeping the increase in rod licence fees to a minimum."

Money raised from the sale of rod licences funds much of the agency's fisheries service as well as supporting fishery projects including multi-ability access improvements, habitat restoration and community fisheries schemes.

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