AnglingTrust The voice of Angling

Environment Agency

Rod Fishing Byelaws If you suspect poaching you should contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 and write down their incident number. Other offences such as fishing without a rod licence, illegal fishing methods, breach of local byelaws or damage to spawning grounds should also be reported to them. Byelaws apply to all waters, whether they are owned by angling clubs, local authorities or private individuals. If you see someone breaking these byelaws, for example fishing out of season then contact the Environment Agency Incident Hotline immediately.

Taking Action To Tackle Poaching

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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.

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
Tel: 0343 5077006 (For Membership enquiries select Option 1) |
Calls to our 0343 number are charged at the same rate as normal landline numbers.
Office hours are Mon - Thu 9.00-5.00 and Fri 4.30. Please leave a message if you call outside these hours or email us.
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Angling Trust Limited is a company limited by guarantee, company number 05320350

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