ILLEGAL ANGLERS have been caught in the act during a Environment Agency crackdown over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Fifty-six people were reported for various fisheries offences at spots across Yorkshire by patrolling enforcement officers between May 23-25, with the majority of cases involving fishing without a licence.
The Agency checked 473 anglers at 29 separate locations across the region in a bid to catch offenders and is now reminding anglers that they must abide by national and local byelaws or face similar action.
Fishing without a rod licence can see offenders fined up to £2,500.
Peter Mischenko, fisheries technical officer at the Environment Agency, said: “It is absolutely vital that anglers obey the laws relating to rod licences and the coarse fish close season to protect our fisheries.
“Money from rod licences goes straight back into trout and freshwater fisheries. People who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on the work we can deliver. The close season in our rivers is important to allow the fish time to breed and spawn and so maintain a healthy stock of fish. Without it, our fisheries would be put at risk.
“We use intelligence gathered previously to indicate the locations where anglers are likely to be fishing illegally, and we concentrated our efforts towards those areas. We shall continue to target those waters where evasion and illegal activity is high and those caught may be prosecuted.”
At an earlier rod licence ‘blitz’, on May 2-4, enforcement officers checked 305 anglers at 51 separate locations, and reported 28 offenders.
Last year, a total of 520 anglers were reported for fishing offences in Yorkshire.