Over the next two weeks, the Environment Agency will be stepping up boat patrols on the Severn and Avon to catch anglers who are fishing illegally in the close season or using illegal equipment.
EA teams will use boat patrols to get to out of the way places where access is difficult, or where illegal anglers would get advance warning of our arrival on foot.
As well as anglers catching fish that the close season is intended to protect, we are also seeking evidence of people using ‘set lines’ – lines tied to the bank and left overnight. The lines kill fish indiscriminately and damage fish stocks.
The close season lasts from 15 March to 15 June inclusive each year. Its purpose is to protect fish during the breeding season. It applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England & Wales, but does not apply to most still-waters. There are exceptions to this rule. They can be found in local angling byelaws which can be obtained from local Environment Agency offices by calling 08708 506 506.
From Saturday 16 June 2007, anglers will be able to fish for coarse fish again in rivers and other waters where the close season applies, but they still need to have a valid rod licence and the consent of the landowner.
Team Leader, Al Watson, says: “It is illegal to fish for coarse fish during the close season. It is designed to protect coarse fish and give them the best possible chance to breed. This is vitally important if we are to have fish for anglers to catch in future.
“We will be stepping up our boat patrols, looking for anglers who have no regard for the future of the sport or the fish they catch and no respect for their fellow anglers or the law. It may be close season for coarse fish, but it’s open season for illegal anglers as far as we are concerned. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone we find fishing illegally.”
Anglers who haven’t been fishing since the close season began on 15 March need to remember to get a new rod licence before the coarse fishing season on rivers begins again on 16 June.