A spokesman for the Environment Agency said, “Over the entire close season, Fisheries Enforcement Officers across England have undertaken 673 patrols, detecting 124 close season offences. Despite undertaking more patrols than last year, less close season offences than 2013 were detected. Those reported risk a court appearance and a fine of up to £50,000 if convicted. These close season patrols cover a large area and officers have detected over 200 other licence and byelaw offences. Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report it directly to the Environment Agency hotline, 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Now that the coarse season has opened again the Agency is encouraging anglers to get out on the river banks again. The rivers are in great condition after the three month lay-off and now is the time for a great session.”
In the Southeast, Angling Trust volunteers are working in partnership with the Environment Agency on Operation CLAMP DOWN 2 to identify hotspots where illegal fishing is regularly taking place. During the close season, volunteers have undertaken 365 patrols reporting 15 incidents to the Environment Agency. This is more than double the number of volunteer patrols undertaken in 2013. The message appears to be sinking in, as only one more incident was reported this year.
Fisheries Enforcement Manager for the Angling Trust, Dilip Sarkar said, ‘Our volunteers have yet again made a very great effort and are to be highly commended for their commitment. An important feature of this operation was the support of police forces in SE England, officers from which joined Environment Agency and Voluntary Bailiff Service patrols. This is crucial to educating the police regarding their role and how fisheries offences feature in Rural Crime. That there is a partnership approach to the issue, and intelligence sharing, can only improve the situation – and be bad news for offenders. The Angling Trust is grateful to everyone involved’.
For more information, please visit this website www.anglingtrust.net