Police Rural Task Force warning not to get caught out by fishing laws and net a fine

The Humberside Police Rural Task Force is warning people to be aware of fishing laws before they head out with their rods and nets.

By Phil Hutchinson
Friday, 29th July 2022, 8:35 am
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 8:37 am
Operation Traverse is tackling fish theft and illegal fishing.
Operation Traverse is tackling fish theft and illegal fishing.

Operation Traverse, a joint initiative with Environment Agency, Police and Angling Trust, is a mission across east England to tackle fish theft and illegal fishing.

Anyone found fishing illegally could face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

PC Kevin Jones, from the task force, said: “Throughout the year we take days of action which usually involve partnership work with the Environment Agency (EA), Fisheries Enforcement officers and EA voluntary bailiffs.

“Rod and line fish poaching is the most common offence that angling clubs and fisheries face. A rod licence is required to fish (freshwater) anywhere in England and Wales – not having one is an offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act Section 27.

“Offences of fishing without a rod licence are normally prosecuted by the EA with support of the police.

“Fishing without permission and the theft of fish (from enclosed waters) are criminal offences under the Theft Act 1968 which the police prosecute. Fishing without permission (Theft of Fishing Rights) where a private right of fishery exists is a criminal offence under Schedule 1 of the Theft Act 1968.

“The theft of fish from enclosed waters, lakes, tarns, ponds etc is covered by S.1 of the Theft Act because fish in enclosed waters are deemed as property and can therefore be stolen. Coarse fish are stolen or taken illegally for food or transfer to other waters.

“An individual who is fish poaching will often have no rod licence and will also commit offences under the Theft Act. The police and EA will present a joint prosecution together in one package in these circumstances.

“It can be difficult to put a monetary value to the damage caused by fish poaching but to smaller angling clubs it can have a massive impact to maintaining and improving the waterway and protecting the fisheries.

“We want to protect our wildlife and prevent crime.

“If you witness anyone suspected of fish poaching either within enclosed waters or an area of water where a private right of fishing exists, please contact the police on 101 or the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.”