Migrant anglers are taking fish from our rivers to eat according to the ex-police detective helping to crackdown on illegal fishing in Lincolnshire.
Paul Thomas (50), the Angling Trust’s regional enforcement manager for the East of England, said: “This may be due to the migrant angler not being aware of the law in England regarding the need to purchase an Environment Agency rod licence and obtain permission to fish the water prior to fishing.
“It is also possible that they may not be aware of the laws surrounding the removal of freshwater fish, as it is perfectly natural for them to do so in their own country.
“There are byelaws in place that restrict the size and quantity of freshwater fish that can be legally removed but if the controlling club for the water in question state that no fish are to be removed from their waters, then no fish can be legally removed.
“The Angling Trust is actively engaged in the Building Bridges scheme whereby Polish and Lithuanian speaking staff are seeking to educate, rather than alienate, migrant anglers and integrate them into the ‘catch and return’ policy practiced by anglers in England.”
Paul also highlighted growing concern about organised removal of fish from lakes and rivers “on an almost commercial scale” using gill nets and baited longlines to trap fish to sell on the black market.
He said: “These gill nets and longlines are often placed in remote locations after dark and can be very inconspicuous. These are the more serious offences that demonstrate the links between fisheries crime and the wider picture of rural and wildlife crime, business crime, hate crime and organised crime.”
He says anyone who sees illegal angling should call police on 101 or, if appropriate, 999, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111555 and the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 807060.