On the 31 October 2016 at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Martyn Exall of Kilvert Road, Wednesbury, West Midlands was fined £571 for fishing without a rod licence during the closed season.
Magistrates heard that on 7 May 2016 an Environment Agency enforcement officer found Mr Exall fishing at Stanchards Pit on the River Avon, Tewkesbury. A valid rod licence is required to fish all waters in England. He was not able to produce a valid rod licence and was reported for that offence, along with a secondary offence of fishing during the closed season. Close season seeks to protect fish during their breeding season, helping to increase fish stocks and secure angling for the future.
Stuart Gamble of the Environment Agency said:
The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a rod licence. We invest the money from rod 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 rod licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport. In addition rod licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.
During 2015-16 the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod 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 it directly to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.
You need a valid Environment Agency rod licence if you are aged 12 or over and fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.