Further to your story ‘If you see anything fishy, tell us’ in last week’s Free Press, I feel the comment quoted by senior environment officer Chris Reeds that ‘it is still legal to take a number of small fish from the river to eat‘ is somewhat misleading.
According to the Environment Agency’s website (which you cited at the end of the story) on the matter of fish removal, only ‘one pike of up to 65cm’, and ‘up to a total of 15 small fish of up to 20cm’ can be removed.
In addition it states that ‘you must return any eel’ and that this restriction applies to ‘estuaries and inshore waters, to a distance of six nautical miles’.
In addition – and crucially – if the water in question is controlled by an angling club, as the Vernatts Drain, the River Glen, the Coronation Channel and the Welland outside of the town centre are, then ‘you will still need the written permission of the owner or club’ (and, by the way, in addition to a rod licence you will also need to purchase the relevant club membership for that river).
So basically, with the exception of one small pike, you can take nothing much of an edible size, and you need written permission from the controlling club (which I suspect would be unlikely to be forthcoming) before you do so.
I wonder if the patrolling officers really do check to see if written permission has been obtained from the relevant controlling clubs, and if anyone with two dead pike or any other species over 20cm really is prosecuted.