Crackdown of illegal North-East fishing a success

ANGLERS are facing spot checks by Environment Agency officials in a crackdown on illegal fishing in the North-East.

The Environment Agency has joined forces with the police and angling clubs to endorse the rules during the freshwater close season which runs until June 15.

The close season prevents fishing for coarse fish on rivers, streams and drains, to allow them to breed, ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks in our rivers.

During the close season 188 anglers were checked on North-East rivers and 156 were found to be fishing illegally.

Thirty-two of them were reported for illegal activity involving over 60 offences.

Unlicensed fishing with rod and line carries a maximum penalty of £2,500, while bye-law offences have a maximum fine of £50,000.

Anyone found guilty of an offence can also be banned from holding a fishing licence for up to five years and the courts can make them forfeit fishing equipment.

Kevin Summerson, team leader for fisheries enforcement at the Environment Agency, said: “Legitimate anglers can be assured we shall continue our pro-active approach to licence checking.

“Licensing laws and the close season are vital to ensure that fish stocks are protected and remain healthy. “