Fisheries Enforcement Campaign
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Poaching and fish theft has increased to such proportions over recent years that this is now of great concern to anglers - and a priority for the Angling Trust to address.
In the past, this problem has degenerated due to a general lack of awareness concerning the law and intelligence-led system; little understanding of the police's responsibility towards the criminal offences involved and wider criminal implications connected with poaching; little or no appreciation that this impacts not only on the environment but also on livelihoods; a lack of consistent partnership and intelligence-sharing between the enforcement agencies, and a lack of awareness by the courts.
What we are doing to address this:
- Appointed Dilip Sarkar MBE, an experienced police officer and life-long angler, as our first National Enforcement Manager.
- Educating anglers through publication of guides and other material, and delivery of Fisheries Enforcement Workshops throughout England.
- Achieved an agreement with Mr Simon Prince, Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys and the Association of Chief Police Officers' National Policing Lead on Rural & Wildlife Crime, that fishing without permission and the theft of fish (from enclosed waters) are criminal offences and the police's responsibility.
- Engaging with an ever increasing number of police forces to raise awareness and train operational officers and call-takers.
- Presenting at Rural Crime and Wildlife Crime conferences to raise awareness.
- Ensure that poaching is embedded in Rural Crime Strategies.
- Refer incidents inappropriately dealt with to Chief Officers for resolution.
- Working in partnership with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and represent anglers on the England & Wales Poaching Priority Delivery Group to increase intelligence and raise awareness via Project TRESPASS.
- Encourage partnership working, intelligence-sharing and joint operations between the Environment Agency, police and other stakeholders - including Operation CLAMP DOWN, targeting illegal fishing during the annual coarse close season in SE England, and Operation TRAVERSE, focusing on illegal fishing and fish theft in Fenland.
- Provide Impact Statements, accurately contextualizing the negative implications of poaching and fish theft, to the Crown Prosecution Service and courts - in order to achieve appropriate sentencing.
- Maintain and develop the Voluntary Bailiff Service, currently an operational pilot project in SE England, in support of the Environment Agency's delivery of fisheries enforcement and assisting the police in fighting Rural and Wildlife Crime.
- Extend the Voluntary Bailiff Service nationally.
- Impressing upon anglers the crucial need to report incidents at the time to the police or Environment Agency, or anonymously via Crimestoppers.
- Delivering the Building Bridges Project, aimed at educating migrant anglers from Eastern Europe regarding British angling law and culture, and integrate them, where possible, into British angling clubs.
- Sharing intelligence, where appropriate, with and developing links with enforcement agencies in Eastern Europe.
- Via Fish Legal, take civil action where appropriate on behalf of our members.
- Increasing intelligence regarding Organised Crime Gangs known to be behind the illegal importation and movement of carp, and sharing this with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, National Crime Agency and Fish Health Inspectorate.
With more resources, we could:
- Recruit a team of experienced enforcement professionals to deliver the Fisheries Enforcement Campaign and Voluntary Bailiff Service on a regional basis.
- Run a concerted political campaign to raise awareness at Westminster and increase the number of fisheries enforcement officers available.
- Take more widespread legal action on behalf of our members.