Fish Legal has successfully settled a civil action against a poacher on behalf of its member club the King’s Lynn Angling Association.
Fish Legal issued proceedings against Mr Chirokov, who was one of three men arrested by police on 25th May 2008 at a makeshift camp set up on the banks of the Wissey from where they took fish illegally from the river over a number of days.
When apprehended by the police, the group had in their possession an assortment of fishing paraphernalia including a commercial-type gill net, a crayfish trap, several baited rods, two dinghies and a large number of live fish threaded through the gills onto a washing line and submerged in the water in an attempt to keep them fresh.
During a hearing at King’s Lynn County Court on 7th October 2009, the defendant gave an undertaking – or sealed promise – to the judge that he would not trespass or fish on the club’s waters at any time in the future. If found in breach of this undertaking, the defendant could face a charge of contempt of court which carries with it the possibility of a prison sentence.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Fish Legal said: “Poaching is not simply an irritation for anglers but, as in this case, it can have a detrimental impact on fish populations. There are also welfare issues to consider, as the fish had been threaded onto a line to keep them alive for hours”.
He added: “Although two other poachers were successfully prosecuted by the police, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute this defendant, which is why Fish Legal pressed forward with a civil action to ensure that he didn’t go back to the waters”.
Ashley Brown of the King’s Lynn Angling Association said:
“There clearly is a problem with poachers taking fish so we hope this sends out a clear message that King’s Lynn AA will take legal action against anyone caught taking fish from their waters. It is unfortunate that we have to resort to this but we have spent over £2000 with help from the EA on signage warning no fish can be taken and these are being ignored. I would like to thank Fish Legal for taking on our case.”