Stop Illegal Fishing
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Recent years have seen illegal fishing increase dramatically in a number of areas of the country and many thousands of fish being killed in fisheries by anglers with no permission to fish there. Time and again we have heard from anglers that their reports of fish thefts have been passed back and forth between the police and the Environment Agency, with each claiming it is the other's responsibility.
Night lines with multiple hooks, nets and even poison have been used throughout the country to capture fish for consumption and sale. Migrant workers, who come from cultures where coarse fish are regularly taken to eat, have taken many large fish both legally and illegally in recent years.
The Angling Trust broadly welcomes the new bye-laws introduced by the Environment Agency to control the taking of coarse fish, but without proper enforcement these new regulations are worthless. EA bailiffs are rarely seen by anglers and there is a widespread culture of lawlessness on many riverbanks and lake sides. At sea, commercial fishermen catch huge quantities of fish illegally and are rarely prosecuted. Prosecutions lead to inadequate fines.
What we will do:
- Push for implementation and enforcement of the new bye-laws to control the taking of coarse fish.
- Continue to implement and expand our "Building Bridges" pilot project, part funded by the Environment Agency, to improve understanding in Eastern European communities of the bye-laws and angling culture of this country. Read more about this project in our campaigns page HERE.
- Take civil legal action on behalf of member clubs and fisheries against individuals and gangs responsible for persistent fish theft and illegal activity.
- Support the Crimestoppers initiative to encourage anglers to report fish theft, illegal fishing, unlicensed introductions and illegal imports. Read more about Crimestoppers in our campaigns page HERE.
- Run a concerted political campaign for an increase in funds for enforcement of fisheries legislation and for more bailiffs on the bank.
- Develop a memorandum of understanding between the police, the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust setting out the arrangements for reporting and taking action on fish thefts.
- Take more widespread legal action on behalf of our members.