Close season marks illegal fishing warning

Angling

1:38pm 20th March 2017
(Updated 7:16pm 20th March 2017)

Anglers are being reminded that the close season for coarse fish in rivers has now come into effect.

Throughout the close season, which runs until 16 June, North Yorkshire Police officers will be working closely with the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust to look out for illegal fishing and enforce the law on local rivers.

In addition, there is no permission to fish at the Fairburn Ings nature reserve, near Castleford, between 15 March and 15 June.

Fishing at Fairburn Ings between those dates is an offence of theft of fishing rights under the Theft Act, punishable by a fine of up to £5,000.

Joint patrols in the area are planned, involving officers from the Rural Taskforce, the Environment Agency's specialist enforcement teams and the Angling Trust's Voluntary Bailiff Service.

PC Hannah McPeake, of North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce, said: "Every year, the close season prevents fishing in rivers for coarse fish for three months, to give them a chance to breed.

"Additionally, there is no fishing at Fairburn Ings, to protect nesting birds. The majority of anglers fish within the law, and we will be working closely with them and our partners to target the minority who do not.

"Anyone caught can expect to face prosecution and receive a substantial fine."

Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, added: "This annual multi-agency operation is an important one, providing an ideal opportunity for all partners to work together to protect fish and fisheries.

"Our volunteers are trained to report incidents and information to a high evidential standard, contributing to the intelligence-led system, and are essential to this process. We are grateful to each and every one."

As part of North Yorkshire Police's 'Call it in' campaign, the Rural Taskforce is asking people to note down and report any suspicious activity, particularly in remote or isolated areas.

Information from local residents and anglers could prove crucial in identifying offenders and bringing them to justice.

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing can call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

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