DRASTIC action has been taken to stop foreign anglers fishing illegally in a stretch of water on the outskirts of Spalding.
A concrete block and posts are in place at South Drove Drain after complaints from residents and dog walkers about anglers using the water for drag net fishing.
A ramp leading down to the Drain has been blocked off by Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board (IDB) after “Strictly No Fishing” signs were repeatedly ignored by anglers.
One local resident, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, said: “I walk my dog along there every day and have seen foreign anglers taking their boats out of the water several times after drag net fishing.
“Other dog walkers I spoke to told me that they have spotted the drag nets and reported it to the IDB because there are “no fishing” signs up next to the ramp. I knew the anglers were foreign because I heard them talking to each other and they weren’t speaking English.
“We were all getting so cross about the illegal fishing but we can only do so much.
“The concrete barriers look horrible but I suppose there was no other way to stop these people.”
Another resident, who also did not want to be named, said: “It started four or five years ago and the last boat I saw using the ramp was a fortnight ago before they put the barrier up.
“The anglers would turn up in a van, take their boat out and drag it down the ramp to go fishing.
“I used to see bits of fish left on the riverbank after they had been gutted and it was just out of order.
“When I told them fishing wasn’t allowed there, they said ‘it doesn’t matter to us.’”
The IDB’s blockage of the ramp comes just a week after the Guardian’s report on growing complaints about litter being left along the River Welland by Eastern European immigrants eating and drinking by the riverbank.
An IDB spokeswoman said: “The concrete block and posts have been placed on the ramp to stop illegal boating activity on the Board’s South Drove Drain.
“It is not a navigation channel but there have been some boats going up and down there recently.
“We have various Board machinery that operate on that Drain which is privately owned by ourselves.”
An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We have not had any reports of illegal fishing on South Drove Drain but if anyone suspects illegal fishing to be taking place, please report it to our Incident Hotline on 0800 807060 as we use this information to target our enforcement activities.”
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