Two Kent based commercial fishermen have been given formal cautions by the Environment Agency after illegally retaining sea trout aboard their boat.
The offence was spotted off the Kent coast by enforcement officers from the Marine Management Organisation, who reported the fishermen to the Environment Agency for further investigation.
Fisheries Officers from the Environment Agency then found that the fishermen had caught the sea trout using gill nets and had retained the fish illegally, which is in contravention of Section 27 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
Sea trout are under threat from not only illegal netting, but also from pollution, habitat degradation, and impassable weirs in some rivers. Each large female fish can potentially lay thousands of eggs, so the loss of just one or two fish from localised breeding populations can have a significant impact.
Environment Agency Fisheries Officer Joe Northgarden said:
We work closely with partner organisations such as the Marine Management Organisation to proactively patrol vulnerable locations and ensure compliance with fisheries legislation and byelaws.
Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspicious sea trout related activities to the Environment Agency’s 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 807060.
To stay up-to-date on the work of the Environment Agency Fisheries team follow @JoeFishingEA on Twitter.