Unscrupulous fishery owners will have to think twice before buying dodgy carp from fish thieves in the future.
Environment Agency Wales and Peterstone Fishery, near St. Mellons, Cardiff, have joined forces to tag newly-stocked carp. The fish of up to 30lb in size will each be identifiable thanks to an unique electronic tag inserted into each fish. The technology is already widely used by pet owners to tag their cats and dogs.
Anglers thinking of stealing fish from one fishery and either taking them to restock another water will not be able to tell if the fish they have caught are tagged or not. Fishery owners won’t be able to tell if the fish they buy have been secretly tagged or not – their first indication that they’ve been duped by the rustlers might be Environment Agency Enforcement Officers or the police knocking on their fishery door.
Not only could they end up with a hefty fine or jail, and a criminal record, but they could also be placing the existing fish in their water in grave danger. Illegal stockings of fish can lead to the introduction of parasites and diseases that can wipe out existing stocks.
“Fish theft has become a major concern of our customers and we are determined to find ways to stop criminal anglers from spoiling the activities of those wishing to fish legitimately,” explained Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dafydd Evans.
“The coarse and game fisheries of Wales generate a huge amount of money into the Welsh economy each year, estimated at over £100m, and we don’t want this benefit undermined by a small minority of crooks.
“We hope that fishery owners follow the lead shown the owner of this fishery and that the more fisheries that tag their fish – the greater the risk to the poachers.”