Essex: 61 anglers caught without a valid licence
A BANK holiday blitz on illegal angling in Essex found 61 people fishing without a valid licence.
The crackdown by the Environment Agency ran over four days and saw 474 anglers checked. Thirteen per cent were issued with offence tickets; the rest had valid licences.
Lesley Robertson, environmental crime team leader for the agency, said people who don’t buy rod licences are “cheating their sport and other anglers”.
She said: “We are disappointed to have found so many anglers illegally fishing but pleased to see that most anglers had valid rod licences, as all the money the Environment Agency receives from sales is spent improving fisheries. People who don’t buy a licence are cheating their sport and other anglers.
“Those issued with offence tickets will almost certainly end up in court.”
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During the Essex blitz, fisheries enforcement officers also recovered one illegally-set trap from a fishery and audited three ILFA (Import of Live Fish Act) sites, removing one catfish in the process with the fishery owner’s consent. Advice was also given to site owners.
Many anglers were also given advice on drying and cleaning their equipment after fishing as good practice in order to lessen the risk of killer shrimp being transported between waters.
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Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers check rod licences throughout the fishing season and check waters for illegal fishing during the close season. All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods.
Rod licences run from April 1 to March 31 and fishing without one can lead to prosecution and a substantial fine of up to �2,500.
To help crack down on unlicensed anglers, people can report illegal activity to the Environment Agency by calling 0800 807060. Information can also be passed on to Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111
Licences may be bought over the counter or online from the Post Office and from the Environment Agency by visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish or by calling 0844 800 5386.