Fishing tackle retailer legal issues

Woman in blue cardigan holding fishing rod in shop

There are several pieces of legislation that apply to fishing tackle retailers. They cover areas such as licensing, lead weights, and the sale of knives.

What licences does a fishing tackle retailer need?

There are no licensing requirements relating specifically to fishing tackle retailers.

You should, however, be aware of the following:

  • fishing tackle shops in Scotland that sell fishing and hunting knives are likely to need a knife dealer's licence from their local authority
  • you will need consumer credit authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) if credit terms are offered to your retail customers
  • you will need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website
  • businesses which keep computerised records of individuals' personal details - perhaps for finance purposes - may be required to register as data users with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

You might decide to sell some second-hand items. Local authorities in Scotland require second-hand dealers to obtain a licence or registration to operate. This applies unless dealing in second-hand goods is only incidental to the main business activity. Elsewhere in the UK, some local authorities license or register businesses (with some specific exemptions) where second-hand dealing is the main or a significant part of the business and is not just incidental. If you are in any doubt as to whether second-hand dealer licensing may apply to your business, contact your local authority trading standards department for guidance.

It will be helpful if you are aware of the requirements for rod fishing licences so that you can advise your customers accordingly. A rod fishing licence is compulsory for any angler (aged 12 or more - although licences for 12 to 16 year olds are issued free) fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England and Wales and so it is likely that many of your customers will need one. Different categories of licence are available but they are all obtained from the Environment Agency, through the website or the Post Office.

In Northern Ireland, a rod licence and fishery permit are required for fishing both game species and coarse species. These are available from an angling licence and permit distributor or by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Inland Fisheries. The NI Direct website includes details of the different licences and permits and names, addresses and contact details for licence and permit distributors.

There is no national rod licence in Scotland, although written permission to fish is usually required (always when fishing for salmon).

Anglers' lead weights

It is illegal to use or sell lead fishing weights of between 0.06 and 28.35 grams - this is to protect mute swans from being accidentally poisoned if they swallow discarded weights. The ban is enforced by trading standards officers.

Sale of knives

If you sell fishing knives you must comply with the Offensive Weapons Act which places restrictions on the sale of knives to those under the age of 18. You must also comply with the Knives Act which states that knives must not be marketed in a way that is likely to encourage violent behaviour. Retailers in Scotland selling knives must obtain a knife dealer's licence if they are not covered by an exemption.


There is a wide range of legislation that applies to retail outlets and that protects the interests of the consumer. For example, goods and services must not be misleadingly described and the retail price of goods must be clearly displayed. You will be responsible for making sure that all goods or services are fit for their intended purpose and of satisfactory quality.


If you sell goods online then there's special legislation that applies to your business. It covers matters like the information you must give on your website, distance selling and email privacy. There's detailed guidance on your legal obligations to consumers, and on the requirements when selling online, on the Trading Standards Business Companion website.

Workplace smoking bans

Smoking is no longer permitted in public places and workplaces, including shops and even work vehicles. You must display appropriate 'No Smoking' signs. The legislation varies slightly in different parts of the UK so contact your local authority for details of how the ban affects you. You can also find out more on the HSE website.

Carrier bag charge

A minimum 10p charge applies for single-use carrier bags in England (other rules apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). You can get detailed guidance from the GOV.UK website.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a fishing tackle retailer

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • premises, premises contents and stock
  • goods in transit (being collected or delivered)
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employer's liability
  • public liability
  • product liability
  • motor insurance (for business vehicles)

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