Acting on a tip off from a local angler, Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers responded to a report of illegal netting at Teddington weir pool on Thursday 22 October, where a 50 metre long gill net had been set in the tidal Thames containing over 100 large adult fish totalling several hundred pounds in weight.
The angler who discovered the net managed to release most of the fish alive and remove it from the water, however a number of fish were killed. Gill nets are size selective and trap fish by entangling their gills in mesh, so mainly larger specimen fish were caught.
Environment Agency officers met with the angler to retrieve the net and dead fish as evidence. Today they will be carrying out a boat patrol to ensure no further illegal traps or nets are present. They will also look to increase fisheries enforcement patrols in the weir-pool and surrounding area to deter any repeat of this highly damaging and illegal activity.
It is very likely that the gill net was deployed from a boat and the way it was buoyed and set meant that those responsible are very likely to have known that this was an illegal act. This activity is an offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and if convicted, offenders can face up to a £50,000 fine.
Chris Hazelton, Environment Manager, said:
We are appealing to anyone who has seen any boats or vehicles operating in and around the weir-pool or any persons acting suspiciously to contact us on our incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60.
We would also like to thank the angler who removed the net, as his actions will have undoubtedly saved more fish from being caught and killed.
All media enquiries: 0800 917 9248.