Environment Agency Enforcement Officers in Derbyshire will be patrolling waters throughout the area this bank holiday weekend as part of a clampdown on illegal fishing.
The officers will be making sure anyone fishing is obeying the law by not fishing in waters that are closed to anglers, using the right tackle and equipment, and having a valid fishing licence.
Bank Holiday weekends are a great opportunity for families to get out and do some fishing on waterways and the Environment Agency is keen to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves and doing the right thing.
In April this year Enforcement Officers checked 1074 anglers in the East Midlands area, with the majority being fully licensed and compliant.
In this period, officers reported 31 people for offences. During the last May bank holiday weekend 530 anglers were checked and 30 people were reported for offences.
Callum Underhill, Fisheries Enforcement Officer, Environment Agency said: “We will once again be out and about around the county this bank holiday to make sure everyone is fishing legally. Anyone caught can expect to face prosecution.
“We regularly carry out enforcement operations in order to protect fish stocks and improve fisheries and we take all kinds of illegal fishing extremely seriously, whether it’s fishing without a licence, anglers using illegal equipment or fishing in the close season.
“Illegal fishing is not just unfair on other anglers who fish within the law, it also endangers the future of the sport by damaging the sustainability of fish stocks, so it is important for people to report any information about suspected illegal fishing to us in order for us to investigate ”
The Environment Agency’s work is intelligence-led and officers work closely with partners to target known hotspots and act on reports of illegal fishing.
Anglers are reminded that it is currently the close season for coarse fishing and fishing for coarse fish on rivers and streams is not permitted. This is done to protect breeding fish, helping to safeguard stocks for the future. Anglers are encouraged to check which waterways are open to fishing by checking the byelaws in their area at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-fishing-byelaws
Money from fishing licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries, and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including; protecting stocks, restoring fish stocks through restocking, eradicating invasive species, and making fish habitat improvements. Fishing licence money is also used to fund the Angling Trust to provide information about fishing and to encourage participation in the sport.
Anyone who wants to go fishing needs to buy a fishing licence. A full annual licence costs from just £30 and is available online from: https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences
People are urged to report illegal fishing to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.