On 23 March 2017, at Yeovil Magistrates Court, Ryan Hughes, of Fallowfield Drive, Newport, was fined £440 for fishing with an unlicensed instrument and fishing with more than 4 rods.
Costs of £170 and a victim surcharge of £30 were also imposed - a total penalty of £640 after a prosecution by the Environment Agency.
Magistrates heard that on 6 September 2016, an Environment Agency enforcement officer found Mr Hughes fishing at Pavyatt Mill Lakes, Yeovil, with an unlicensed instrument – namely rod and line – contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. On 6 September, Mr Hughes also fished with more than 4 rods and lines at the same time contrary to Byelaw 8(3) of the Environment Agency National Byelaws.
Mr Hughes was convicted in his absence.
Richard Dearnley, of the Environment Agency, said:
The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a rod licence. We invest the money from rod licences back into fisheries improvements, fish stocks and fishing, this is essential for the future of the sport.
The minority of anglers that fail to buy a rod licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport. In addition rod licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.
During 2015-16 the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report them directly to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You need a valid Environment Agency fishing licence if you are aged 12 or over and fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.