Anglers in Yorkshire are being reminded to ensure they abide by national and local byelaws as enforcement officers crack down on illegal fishing.
During the Bank Holiday weekend, from 23 to 25 May, Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers checked 473 anglers at 29 separate locations across Yorkshire using local knowledge and intelligence to catch offenders.
During these three days, 56 people were reported for various fisheries offences. Most of these were reported for fishing without a licence. Fishing without a rod licence can result in a fine of up to £2,500.
Peter Mischenko, fisheries technical officer at the Environment Agency, said:
It is absolutely vital that anglers obey the laws relating to rod licences and the coarse fish close season to protect our fisheries.
Money from rod licences goes straight back into trout and freshwater fisheries. People who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on the work we can deliver. The close season in our rivers is important to allow the fish time to breed and spawn and so maintain a healthy stock of fish. Without it, our fisheries would be put at risk.
We use intelligence gathered previously to indicate the locations where anglers are likely to be fishing illegally, and we concentrated our efforts towards those areas. We shall continue to target those waters where evasion and illegal activity is high and those caught may be prosecuted.
At an earlier rod licence ‘blitz’, from 2 to 4 May, Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers checked 305 anglers at 51 separate locations, and reported 28 offenders.
Last year, fisheries enforcement officers checked a total of 7,027 anglers, and 520 anglers were reported for fishing offences.
Enforcement officers will be checking anglers again in the coming weeks to cast the net on illegal fishing. Enforcement patrols are carried out annually during the coarse fish close season, which runs from 15 March to 15 June inclusive. Rivers are off limits for coarse fishing during this period, but it is still permitted on many canals and stillwaters, depending on landowner agreement.
An annual rod licence costs £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout, or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout. There are flexible options to choose from including a 1-day or 8-day licence or the full season. There are also junior and concession options.
You can buy a rod licence from the Post Office website, or you can call the Post Office on 0344 800 5386.
For more information about buying a rod licence, visit our guidance pages
Anyone who suspects illegal fishing to be taking place should report the matter to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline, on 0800 807060.