Over the past 12 months, the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) has funded more than 100 projects, delivering benefits to fisheries and anglers across England.
More than £3.5 million has been invested through FIP this year to fund projects such as new fish passes, protecting fish stocks, providing new angling platforms, and improving accessibility so more people than ever are able to enjoy the sport.
FIP projects cover both rivers and still waters and, as well as benefitting anglers, help protect a wide range of species including coarse fish, trout and eels.
Since FIP was established in 2015, over 850 projects have been successfully completed, with a total of £6 million invested from fishing licence sales alone. These projects continue to positively impact fisheries, angling, ecosystems, and local communities across England.
Heidi Stone, Environment Agency Fisheries Manager, said:
The Fisheries Improvement Programme is a great way for the Environment Agency to support angling clubs. The projects will improve fish stocks and help to maintain the popularity of angling.
All the projects will benefit anglers and the local partners provide significant match funding and input from volunteers.
We want to hear from more clubs and fisheries about the work and projects they would like to see undertaken. The more people who go fishing, the more projects we can deliver.
Every penny the Environment Agency receives in fishing licence income is reinvested to improve our fisheries and protect England’s waterways.
FIP funding is matched by local partners including angling clubs, fisheries, local rivers trusts, and organisations such as the Wild Trout Trust, who work together to make sure every pound from the licence fee income is used to its maximum potential. In 2021/22, the total match funding is estimated to be more than £2.9 million.
Examples of projects in 2021/22:
Barton Brook, Preston:
Environment Agency teams at Barton Brook, Preston, have been working in partnership with local landowners and the angling club to improve water quality and habitats.
For example, the project has seen the creation of 500 metres of riparian buffer strips, which are bands of vegetation used to improve water quality by trapping pollutants from subsurface flow. It has also seen 2,200 trees planted within the riparian zone, which has helped to regulate water temperatures within the watercourse, sequester carbon, and absorb and intercept water during periods of heavy rainfall and high flows.
Six soft engineered bank protections have been installed to reduce erosion, increase marginal habitats, and create instream habitats to support a range of species including brown trout and eel. In addition, the teams have installed a formalised ford to reduce levels of sediment entering during day-to-day farming, supporting fish species which spawn within the watercourse.
Plymouth & District Coarse Angling Club, Devon
Environment Agency teams partnered with Plymouth & District Coarse Angling Club to improve accessibility, water quality and aquatic habitats at three of the club’s fisheries.
At St German’s fishery near Saltash, the teams have refurbished four pegs and upgraded the steps and walkways at the club, providing safe access around the fishery.
At Filham Park fishery in Ivybridge and Cadover fishery in West Devon, the teams purchased new aquatic plants and coir bank protection products which will be installed to improve aquatic habitat and water quality.
River Ouzel, Bedford
Environment Agency teams have partnered with Verulam Angling Club and the Bedford Internal Drainage Board to help fish spawn and improve fisheries conditions for anglers.
The team have nearly completed installing man-made barriers to narrow the channel and increase velocity. This will increase the flow of the river so soft sediment on the riverbed can move and expose the gravel which can be used for spawning. Due to steep river-banks, the barriers are being installed in conjunction with pre-established coir rolls to aide erosion control, creating a safe area for anglers to fish from.
River Cam, Essex
The Environment Agency worked with the Wild Trout Trust (WTT) and Audley End Fly Fishing Club to deliver a restoration project on the club’s River Cam in Essex.
The project involved adjusting and enhancing existing in-channel structures to narrow the channel and increase flows, as well as installing three new man-made barriers constructed from thin branches to create a meandering watercourse. The team also thinned vegetation to increase light on the river and reduce shading.
The project has provided a refuge for young trout, invertebrates and other fish species, and has created in-channel diversity.
Further examples of FIP projects in 2021/22:
- River Allen, Hampshire – Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust enhanced biodiversity as part of the Damerham Wild Trout Project.
- The Weir Warden Project, Dorset – Frome, Piddle & West Dorset Barrier Group tackled barriers to fish migration.
- Lavington Lakes, Wiltshire – Lavington Angling Club improved access to facilities.
- River Lyn fishery, Devon – Environment Agency produced new signage at their trout and salmon fishery.
- Skylarks Lakes, Cambridgeshire – funded a restoration project to improve accessibility for anglers
- Lifted Lakes, Essex – Environment Agency and iCarp have set up a fishery for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and have helped improve disabled access.
- Rochford Angling club, Essex – funded restoration and facilities improvement work to encourage participation and improve disabled access.
- Every year the Environment Agency works to make a real difference for fisheries and anglers through an array of activities including habitat restoration, fish stocking, improvement of access to habitat through fish and eel pass schemes, fish health and regulation, and enforcement.
- Last year, the Environment Agency invested over £33,000,00 in projects that will benefit fisheries across England. This included funding from the Water Environment Improvement Fund, partners’ contributions and additional government funding.
- You can learn more about how the licence fee income is used in the EA’s Annual Fisheries Report
- Find out more about how to purchase a fishing licence here: Buy a rod fishing licence – GOV.UK
- May 13, 2022 at 10:06 am by Editor (displayed above)
- May 13, 2022 at 10:06 am by Editor