Crackdown on illegal fishing over summer in south Lincolnshire
Almost 50 checks have been carried across South Holland, Bourne, the Deepings and villages south of Boston for people fishing without a rod licence.
The Environment Agency has warned that people caught fishing illegally face a £2,500 fine at the same time as it confirmed that more than 360 checks had been carried out across the county.
People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport, but also running the risk of a criminal conviction and fine.
Bailiffs reported 50 people for fishing without a rod licence and during the close season (March 15 to June 15), with the Environment Agency warning that more checks will be made throughout the summer.
Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “The number of anglers caught red-handed is testament to how seriously we take illegal fishing as it shows a blatant disregard for the law and the health of fisheries.
“People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport, but also running the risk of a criminal conviction and fine.
“There is no excuse as a rod licence costs just £27 for a whole year and you can buy it from the Post Office.
“Our enforcement teams have been out in force, particularly over the last couple of bank holidays, and will continue to be over the coming months.”
Operation Traverse, a campaign cracking down on poaching and fishing crime, was launched by Lincolnshire Police, the Angling Trust and Fish Health Inspectorate alongside the Environment Agency last November.
But the crackdown has met with a mixed response from the president of Boston and District Angling Association, Brian Balderson, who fears that it doesn’t deal with the issue of fishing without a club permit.
Mr Balderson said: “There’s a lot of talk about Eastern Europeans not having a fishing licence but I’m a bailiff for our local waters and in my experience, about 95 per cent of people I see do have a licence.
“What they don’t have, due to misinformation, is a local club permit which is also needed to fish.”