A 49-year-old man from Kirkham, near Preston, has been fined £140, plus £127 costs and had his fishing tackle confiscated after catching eels from the River Eea in Grange-over-Sands.
Miroslaw Mierzwa, of Station Road, Kirkham, pleaded guilty to the charge of removal of eels by rod and line from any waters during a case heard at South Lakeland Magistrates Court.
On May 27 2012, Mierzwa was seen by an Environment Agency bailiff fishing with one rod and line from the left bank of the River Eea at Down Stream Cartmel.
After being approached, Mierzwa produced a valid fishing licence. He explained he was fishing for eels and the bailiff noted the defendant had a plastic box which contained three dead adult eels.
Byelaw 3 (ii) of the Environment Agency Byelaws state that it is an offence to remove eels from any water with rod or line.
This is to protect the number of eels, with the number of young eels returning to European rivers having fallen by more than 95 per cent and continuing to decrease.
Environment Agency lead investigating officer David Hall said: “This prosecution sends out a clear message that we will take action to uphold bylaws that protect species such as eels.
“The presence of a protected species such as eels in our rivers and lakes enhances the biodiversity in our lakes and rivers.”
To find out more about the Environment Agency’s guidelines on eel fishing, visit http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/119393.aspx.