Environment Agency enforcement teams will be continuing their clampdown on illegal fishing across Cambridgeshire over the bank holiday weekend.
The Environment Agency in partnership with the Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS) and Cambridgeshire Police will be running Operation Clampdown, targeting illegal angling during the coarse fishing closed season.
Anglers are being reminded that fishing for coarse fish in rivers is off limits until June 16 and anyone caught fishing illegally can expect to be prosecuted and face a fine. The three-month break – from Tuesday 15 March to Sunday 15 June – is designed to protect breeding fish.
Environment Agency enforcement officers supported by VBS staff and the Police will also be ensuring those fishing the many lakes, rivers, ponds and canals where coarse fishing is still allowed have a valid rod licence, and they’ll be on the look-out for those using illegal baits, banned methods of fishing and fishing in prohibited areas.
The Environment Agency’s Kye Jerrom said: “The closed season on our rivers is important to maintain healthy fish stocks, as it allows fish time to breed as well as giving other waterside wildlife the same break. During this time fisheries enforcement officers have been carrying out regular patrols of our rivers.”
It’s a crime to fish without a valid licence and offenders could be fined up to £2,500, have their fishing equipment seized and be banned from fishing. Fishing during the close season, using banned baits and fishing in prohibited areas attracts a fine of up to £50,000.
Kye added: “All the money from rod licence sales goes straight back into maintaining fisheries, the Voluntary Bailiff Scheme is directly funded by the Environment Agency through this income. Those who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on our work, and selling other anglers short.
“It’s unacceptable to fish without first buying a licence, and we’ll continue to work with angling groups and the police to target areas where illegal activity is high.”
At £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout, or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout, the annual licence is great value for money.
There are flexible options to choose from: a one or eight day licence or the full season, and there are also junior and concession options as well to ensure value for money fishing for the whole family.
You can buy a rod licence online from the Post Office, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0870 166 2662, or online.
Environment Agency officers routinely carry out licence checks and anyone with information about illegal fishing activities is urged to report it via the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.