The Environment Agency is launching a new initiative to protect Hampshire salmon.
Salmon Watch is part of the crackdown against fish theft and poaching that are jeopardising the recovery of the king of fish.
Since a previous campaign was launched across Hampshire last October, fisheries officers have arrested or cautioned five poachers, following public tip-offs.
Rivers in Hampshire, such as the Test, Itchen and Avon, are world-famous for their salmon but surveys show that numbers are well below target.
Evidence gathered from patrols shows that the fish are being increasingly targeted by poachers.
Tim Sykes, of the Environment Agency, said: “We are committed to eliminating illegal fishing and we will have no hesitation in prosecuting those who commit fish crime to the fullest extent of the law. It is of great concern that salmon numbers are down in part due to fish theft.
“Our specialist fisheries enforcement officers continue to carry out regular patrols and covert surveillance at poaching hotspots to target individuals involved in illegal angling. They have also stepped up their day and night boat patrols along the coast to clamp down on illegal fishing.
“However we cannot tackle this crime alone. Legitimate salmon anglers on the Rivers Test and Itchen provide us with major help in keeping a watchful eye on our rivers. We urge all those who value the future of angling in the Solent and the preservation of this iconic species to report any suspicious fishing activities to us so that our teams can swiftly take action.” More....