Illegal fishing gangs and unlicensed anglers are being targeted in a new operation led by police and river authorities.
Operation TRAVERSE sees police in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire join up with the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and Fish Health Inspectorate to stamp out iillegal fishing and fish theft across both counties.
Part of the operation involves educating anglers from eastern European countries about UK angling laws such as the size and numbers of fish that can be and that taking fish from rivers without consent is theft.
Sergeant Dave Robinson from Lincolnshire Police’s Operation Galileo rural and wildlife crime team said: “Poaching fits within the much bigger picture of rural and wildlife crime which we are keen to address, not least because of the wider criminality frequently involved and the negative impact upon livelihoods.
“We very much welcome, therefore, the opportunity to play a key role in TRAVERSE and work with all our partners to achieve the required result through raising awareness, education and positive enforcement”.
Another element of the operation saw Angling Trust staff meet with Polish government officials in June in order to form an information-sharing partnership concerning people prosecuted in Poland for illegal fishing and poaching.
Angling Trust’s national enforcement manager, Dilip Sarkar MBE, said: “This is a really important operation aimed at raising awareness of this serious issue and emphasising the partnership approach now being taken.
“It is essential that anglers contribute to this process by reporting incidents and information to the police on 101 or EA on 0800 80 70 60, quoting Operation TRAVERSE.