On the 19, July, 2007, Mark Dallas pleaded guilty at Stafford Magistrates Court to a charge relating to illegally stocking bream in a Staffordshire pool without consent from the Environment Agency.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. Mr Dallas, aged 42, of Woodham Road, Battlesbridge, Wickford, Essex, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

For the Environment Agency, Dermot Scully told the court that Bromley Mill Pool, Gerrards Bromley, is a 10-acre lake that is classed as being a Mandatory Water by the Environment Agency in relation to movements of fish. The mandatory status of Bromley Mill Pool means that any applications to introduce fish must be accompanied by a relevant fish health check.

On 2 March 2007, following receiving information that fish were going to be stocked at Bromley Mill Pool, Environment Agency officers carried out enforcement action at the location. At 3.20pm, Mr Dallas arrived at the site in a blue truck with a trailer and tank. The officers introduced themselves and produced their warrants. Mr Dallas admitted that his intention was to stock the fish into the lake and he also admitted that he did not have consent to do so.

Mr Dallas confirmed that the bream he had in the tank were from Vandeput Fish Farm in
Belgium. A sample of bream was taken from Mr Dallas’s tank for further analysis at the National Fisheries Laboratory in Brampton. Analysis revealed two Category 2 parasites. The presence of either of these parasites would mean that any application to introduce fish to mandatory water would be refused by the Environment Agency.

Neil Sampson a National Fisheries Enforcement Officer, said: ‘There really is no excuse for not obtaining Section 30 consent. Our colleagues in the fish movement administration team are always happy to help people with their applications. The sample of fish seized were carrying parasites which could have caused irreversible harm to the fishery.’

• Under Section 30 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 (SAFFA), the Environment Agency regulates the movement of fish within all inland waters in England and Wales. It aims to prevent the spread of fish diseases and to minimise the damage to fisheries or the environment that may be caused by inappropriate fish introductions. This means people must have written permission (consent) from us before they introduce new stocks of fish into any inland water. For further information they should call 01480 483968.