This week the Environment Agency were alerted to an illegal fishing Trap that was found at Teddington by a vigilant angler.
Environment Agency officer Carl Rasey
The net was found by local angler and Thames Anglers Conservancy member Oliver Lacfi whilst out fishing on the Thames. Oliver reported the find to the Environment Agency hotline and met up with Carl Rasey from the fisheries team.
Carl said: “We always welcome reports from responsible anglers alerting us of individuals using illegal equipment to catch fish. These methods have the potential to harm wildlife and seriously damage fish stocks, ruining the sport for enthusiasts such as the Thames Anglers’ Conservancy.
“The Environment Agency is committed to stopping illegal fishing and we always encourage anglers to report any suspicious nets, traps or set lines they come across by calling our Incident Hotline on 0800 807060. We take illegal fishing very seriously and will look to prosecute any perpetrators to the full extent of the law. We regularly patrol rivers, streams and lakes to ensure that fishing is carried out in a safe and legal way. The use of illegal nets, traps and set lines can result in fines of up to £50,000.”
Illegal netting, trapping and fish theft does impact on fish stocks and poses potential problems if any other wildlife were to get inside.
A Thames Anglers Conservancy Spokesman said: "Illegal traps and fixed lines are a hidden menace to our to our free fishing rivers and streams. We urge anyone who finds anything suspicious to report it immediately to the Environment Agency but do not remove the items, evidence is key".
"We run a successful River Guardian scheme where members let us know about any problems they encounter including out of season fishing". After it has been reported to the EA, we will follow up the reports building a picture of any potential 'hot spots' and providing the the agency with vital intelligence".