Almost 95 per cent of anglers had successfully renewed their licence in time for the new river season, an unannounced crackdown on illegal fishing found this week.
The new season started on Sunday, and the Environment Agency organised a three-day river blitz to check if people enjoying the first day had the correct licences to fish.
Officers from the Environment Agency focused on rivers in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. They were also joined by the police and the Angling Trust’s “Building Bridges” Project during the patrols in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
The areas targeted were ones with a reputation for having a high evasion rate and were chosen thanks to intelligence supplied to the Environment Agency.
The officers checked 285 people for licences, and found that 268 (94 per cent) had renewed in time for the new season. The 17 who did not have the £27 annual licence were given Offence Report Forms.
In total 39 anglers were checked in Lincolnshire, with two found without a current licence.
Lesley Robertson, an Environmental Crime Team leader for the Environment Agency, said: “We were very pleased with how the operation went.
“The first day of the new season is traditionally one of the most popular fishing days of the year, so we decided to patrol some of the areas identified as possible illegal hot-spots in case people were out without having the correct licence.
“From the Environment Agency’s perspective, it was encouraging that the vast majority of people had the correct rod licence. The law-abiding anglers were very happy to see our officers out on the ground and were encouraged by our continued stance against illegal fishing.” More....