Press release

High fines for illegal fishing

Billy Cox, of Melksham Gardens, Romford, was fined £300 for fishing without the required number of rod licences.

Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers
Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers prepare for licence checks

On 13 April 2017, at Barkingside Magistrates court, Billy Cox was fined £300 for fishing without the required number of rod licences, with costs of £127 and a victim surcharge of £30 imposed after a prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Magistrates heard that on 8 September 2016, an Environment Agency enforcement officer found Billy Cox fishing with 3 rods and lines at White Hart Lakes, Dagenham. He was only able to produce one valid licence and further licence checks confirmed that he did not have a second licence to cover the use of his third rod. At the time of the incident a rod licence permitted the use of up to 2 rods and lines which was clearly stated in the terms and conditions supplied with the licence. He was reported for the offence of not being able to produce the required number of licences when challenged by the bailiff.

Billy Cox was convicted in his absence.

Darren Wakenell, of the Environment Agency, said:

The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a fishing licence. We invest the money from fishing 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 fishing licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport. In addition, fishing licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.

During 2015-2016 the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 fishing 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 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.

Junior fishing licences (aged 12-16) are now free, but you must still get a fishing licence online.


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Published 21 April 2017