Applications for the Angling Improvement Fund to help control invasive species re-opened in mid-April and closes next week

Himalayan balsam can proliferate and destabilise a river-bank. Photo: Shutterstock/Manfred Ruckszio

The first round of  theAngling Improvement Fund (AIF), which provides money towards projects involved in tackling the spread of invasive non-native species and measures to increase biosecurity at angling venues, re-opened in April.

The fund, administered by the Angling Trust, totals £75,000, and is one of the ways the Environment Agency reinvests the income from fishing licence sales in projects which benefit anglers across England.

Applications for up to £5,000 funding are invited from clubs, fisheries and other angling-related organisations. All applicants must have consulted with one of the Angling Trust’s Environment Officers before applying and should do so as soon as possible to gain the best possible chance of getting advice. The round of funding closes on May 26.  To find a local Environment Officer click here.

The fund also welcome joint applications from clubs and fisheries that wish to undertake a project covering larger areas. The maximum award for catchment projects is £10,000.

Match funding

Applicants should attempt to match the award with a similar amount of funding from their own sources and may include cash, volunteer time, donations, or a combination of all three.

Successful applicants will be expected to complete any funded projects by December 31, 2023.

Dr Emily Smith, Angling Trust Environment Manager, said: “Invasive species present a major threat to fish and fishing, so I am pleased that the Environment Agency has chosen to reinvest rod licence income through the Angling Improvement Fund to support action by anglers to control established invasive species and stop their introduction into new sites.

“Funding will support the purchase of equipment to tackle invasive species, training courses, and the installation of biosecurity facilities such as dip-tanks. It presents a fantastic opportunity for anglers to receive support to tackle this issue, and I would encourage any club or fishery to contact one of our Environment Officers to find out more on how to apply for this grant.”

Andy Petch, Angling Improvement Fund Manager for the Angling Trust, said: “This fund once again offers organisations the chance to bring about tangible benefits for anglers, and it all comes from funding provided by the sale of rod licences. I want to see every penny available reinvested so please do make the effort to apply to the Angling Improvement Fund and help to ensure that existing and future fishing opportunities are protected.”

Heidi Stone, Fisheries Manager from the Environment Agency, said: “Anglers’ enjoyment of their sport can be seriously affected by the damaging impacts of invasive non-native species. We are continuing to work closely with the Angling Trust to raise awareness and provide advice. This investment of rod licence income is vital to enable clubs and fisheries to take action and protect their waters by improving biosecurity measures.”

In 2022, the Angling Improvement Fund approved grants totalling £100,000 for 19 different projects involved in controlling the spread of invasive species and measures to increase biosecurity at venues.

For more information about the Angling Improvement Fund and other funding opportunities visit the Funding section of the Angling Trust website