The Environment Agency is reminding anglers of the importance of having a rod licence after three men were handed hefty fines for fishing illegally in separate offences.
They were caught during targeted patrols by Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers.
- On 16 April this year, Adrian Faife, 59, of Gairloch Road, Camberwell, London, was found fishing for eels or freshwater fish at Aldin Fishing Lakes, Durham without a licence.
- On 30 April 2017, Sylwester Michneiwicz, 37, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, was caught trout fishing at Derwent Reservoir, Consett, without a license.
- On 1 May this year, Jordan Mark Aldworth, 22, of St Johns Walk, Escomb, Bishop Auckland, was found fishing for trout at Grassholme Reservoir, Middleton In Teesdale.
Each was fined a total of £611, ordered to pay costs of £127 and a victim surcharge of £44.
The offences were all proved in absence at County Durham and Darlington Magistrates’ Court on 13 September.
The Environment Agency’s Fisheries Technical Specialist for the North East, Kevin Summerson, said:
It is wrong for anglers to think they can avoid paying for a licence. Those that do are cheating their fellow anglers.
Environment Agency Fisheries Officers are out checking licences almost every day of the year at all times of day. It’s just not worth it to fish without the appropriate licence. The most a coarse and trout licence costs is £45, which would cover an angler for one year from the date of purchase and, where conditions permit, allow the angler to fish with up to three rods.
With what it has cost these anglers in fines, costs and victim surcharge they could have fished legally for over 10 years.
All income from rod licence sales is used to fund Environment Agency work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, including improving habitats for fish and facilities for anglers, tackling illegal fishing and working with partners to encourage people to give fishing a go.
Buying a rod licence is quick and easy - you can buy them online at the Post Office.
The Environment Agency urges anyone to report illegal fishing by calling 0800 80 70 60.