Officers from the Environment Agency will be patrolling North-East rivers on the look-out for anglers fishing illegally during a three-month period designed to protect breeding fish, which starts today.
Anglers are being reminded that fishing for coarse fish in rivers is off-limits from today until Monday, June 15, and anyone caught fishing illegally can expect to be prosecuted and face a fine.
Newcastle-based fisheries enforcement team leader Kevin Summerson said: ”The close season on our rivers is important to maintain healthy stocks, as it allows fish time to breed and spawn. We will be carrying out regular patrols of rivers during this period to ensure anglers aren’t fishing illegally.”
Coarse fishing will still be allowed on many lakes, reservoirs, ponds and canals, depending on landowner agreement, though a valid rod licence is still required. Environment Agency officers will also be checking these sites to ensure anglers have a valid licence.
Kevin added: “All the money from rod -icence sales goes straight back into maintaining fisheries so those people who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on our work. If you’re caught fishing without a valid licence, you could be fined up to £2,500 and fishing during the close season attracts a fine of up to £50,000. We’ll continue to work with angling groups and the police to target areas where illegal activity is high.”
The annual licence costs £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout. There are flexible options to choose from too; a one or eight-day licence or the full season. There are also junior and concession options You can buy a rod licence online from the Post Office, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0344 800 5386 (up to 9p per minute from a landline. Mobile phones may cost more).
Environment Agency officers routinely carry out licence checks and anyone with information about illegal fishing activities is urged to report it via the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.