A NUMBER of illegal fishers have been caught red handed after an Environment Agency clampdown. EA enforcement teams carried out more than 30 patrols across Cumbria and Lancashire and staged two rod license ‘blitzes’ over the May bank holiday weekends.
May falls within the coarse fishing ‘close season’ which runs from 15 March to 15 June, when coarse angling is suspended on rivers, streams, and specified canals and stillwaters to protect spawning fish.
Sarah Chare, Environment Agency head of fisheries, said: “Our enforcement teams have been in out in force and will continue to be over the coming months.
“The number of anglers caught red-handed is testament to how seriously we take illegal fishing but worryingly it shows a blatant disregard for the law and the health of fisheries.
“People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but running the risk of criminal conviction and a fine. There is no excuse.”
The Environment Agency’s work is intelligence-led, meaning that work is targeted in known illegal hotspots and in areas where there are reports of evasion.
Darren Bedworth, Fisheries Technical Specialist, said: “We hope that the number of people caught will be a deterrent. We would urge people to help us protect local fish stocks by reporting illegal activity by calling: 0800 80 70 60.”