A clampdown on salmon poachers in North Yorkshire has been announced following reports of an increase in the numbers of fish returning to the rivers.

Environment Agency officers will carry out extra enforcement checks along the Ouse, Ure, Esk and Tees in the next two months in a bid to protect returning salmon and sea trout. Surveillance cameras have also been set up at key locations.

John Shannon, Fisheries Team Leader, said: “It’s important to stop the illegal capture of these wonderful fish, so they can go on to produce the next generation. Numbers are finally increasing in the Ouse system, but only slowly, and if we want this rosy picture to continue then these fish must be allowed to reach their spawning grounds.

“We’re keeping a close eye on the waters and taking a strong line against anyone caught poaching salmon and sea trout. We ask legitimate anglers to return any fish caught to the water unharmed to continue their journey.”

The trout fishing season ended last weekend, whereas the salmon and sea trout fishing season continues until the end of October, and anglers are being urged that if they are going out to catch these fish they need an appropriate Environment Agency rod licence.

Anglers cannot use a normal coarse fish and trout rod licence to catch salmon or sea trout. Anybody unsure of the rules should check with the Environment Agency prior to fishing.