South Yorkshire anglers are being reminded to ensure they abide by national and local by-laws as enforcement officers cast their net on illegal fishing.
During the Bank Holiday weekend, from May 24 to 26, Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers checked 361 anglers at 21 separate locations using local knowledge and intelligence to catch offenders.
During these three days, 57 people were reported for various fisheries offences.
Most of these were fishing without a licence, although one offender was caught coarse fishing despite the close season being in operation at that location.
Peter Mischenko, fisheries technical officer at the Environment Agency, said: “It is absolutely vital that anglers obey the laws relating to rod licences and the coarse fish close season to protect our fisheries.
“Money from rod licences goes straight back into trout and freshwater fisheries. People who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on the work we can deliver. The close season in our rivers is important to allow the fish time to breed and spawn and so maintain a healthy stock of fish. Without it, our fisheries would be put at risk.
“We use intelligence gathered previously to indicate the locations where anglers are likely to be fishing illegally, and we concentrated our efforts towards those areas. We shall continue to target those waters where evasion and illegal activity is high and those caught may be prosecuted.”
Anyone who suspects illegal fishing to be taking place should report the matter to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline, on 0800 807060.
For more information about buying a rod licence, visit www.gov.uk/buy-a-uk-fishing-rod-licence