On the 10 April, Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how 4 anglers were caught fishing without a rod licence by Environment Agency officers out on patrol last year. The offences were proved in absence and the 4 fishermen didn’t appear in front of magistrates. Each face fines and fees totalling £611.47. And with an annual fishing licence now costing £30 these individuals are probably wishing they’d chosen the cheaper option.
Raymond Cole of Meadowleaze in Gloucester, Tomasz Mizera of The Bailey Lea in Coventry, Matthew Gooding of Garn Road in Nantyglo and Darren Edwards of Verwey Road in Nantyglo were all found guilty for fishing without a licence under Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
Magistrates heard that Environment Agency enforcement officers found these anglers fishing without a rod licence at pools in Hartpury, and along the River Severn at Tewkesbury.
Stuart Gamble of the Environment Agency said:
The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a rod licence. With anglers now being able to buy a licence online for a number of rods to cover any 12 month period it seems ridiculous the minority still risk a fine like these we’ve seen here.
The minority of anglers that fail to buy a rod licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport. Fishing licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.
Money from fishing licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including protecting stocks from illegal fishing (including illegal elver patrols), pollution and disease; restoring fish stocks through re-stocking; eradicating invasive species; and fish habitat improvements. Rod licence money is also used to fund the Angling Trust to provide information about fishing and to encourage participation in the sport.
You need a valid Environment Agency rod licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England. Buying a rod licence is easy, simply visit www.gov.uk/fishing-licences/buy-a-fishing-licence
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 Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.