731 fishing licences checked last month across East Anglia

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A month-long enforcement campaign saw more than 700 anglers have their fishing licences checked along East Anglian riverbanks.
From: Environment Agency Published 1 October 2021


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Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officer checking an angler's rod licence.

The campaign, named Operation Lungfish, was launched on 23 July and ran until the end of August. The goal was to crack down on illegal fishing and poaching.
A total of 731 fishing licences were checked across Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. This led to 31 offence notices being issued to anglers with no licences.
In Essex, a joint patrol took place with police and Angling Trust volunteer bailiffs at Hanningfield Reservoir. There, 41 checks were carried out and 4 offence notices were issued to anglers who were fishing illegally without a rod licence.
An Environment Agency’s fisheries enforcement officer also worked with Essex Police to carry out a joint night patrol across Colchester, Maldon and Tendring districts. All anglers were compliant.

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Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officer on a river bank in Essex.

In Norfolk, a week-long patrol with Norfolk Police on the Broads resulted in 5 offence notices being issued to anglers with no fishing licence. An unattended keepnet was also seized. A second joint patrol took place at Pentney Lakes and 3 offence notices were given to anglers with no fishing licence. Nar Valley fishery syndicate was also visited and all anglers were found to be fishing legally.
Patrols also took place on rivers, drains and still waters across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. More than 100 anglers were checked, with 5 anglers found without a valid fishing licence.
Officers also visited 5 fisheries involved in rehoming sturgeon. Sturgeon are a non-native species and cannot be legally kept in any UK fishery. The fisheries continue to be under investigation.

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A fisheries enforcement officer from the Environment Agency on patrol.

Lesley Robertson, Environment Agency enforcement team leader in East Anglia, said:
Our fisheries enforcement officers routinely work with partners such as police, local authorities and the Angling Trust across East Anglia, tackling illegal fishing. Operation Lungfish demonstrates how effective this approach is.

Fisheries enforcement work is intelligence-led, targeting hot-spots and locations where illegal fishing is reported.

We urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Ian Hirst, Environment Agency fisheries team leader in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, said:
Rod fishing licence income is vital to the work to maintain, improve and develop fisheries.

Revenue generated from rod fishing licence sales is reinvested to benefit angling. Examples include tackling illegal fishing, protecting and restoring habitats for fish and improving facilities for anglers.

Before you go fishing make sure you have valid fishing licence.
Purchase or renew a fishing licence.
 

Tristar

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Great work :upthumb:

Will there be a similar operation in the Greater Manchester area?
 

pies

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Not a lot of licences checked really average is less than 25 per day
 

Dave

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25 is a reasonable number if the anglers are spread about - first you've got to locate them, walk to them, then do the check, then find the next, and so on.
If you're hitting a stretch of river you might only see a couple of anglers an hour, compared to a busy commercial on match day where there are many more together in a smaller area.
Some people will always criticise.
 

smiffy

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Yes. I’m not the EA’s biggest fan but it’s good to see this being done.
Even if the EA are taking credit for someone else’s hard work😉😉
 

tipitinmick

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Would be nice to see an EA Bailiff full stop. Not seen one in 40+ years. What I would like to see checked is ‘ anglers ‘ who fish from the back of their boats. I doubt very much that these folk even know they should have a license.
 

smiffy

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Would be nice to see an EA Bailiff full stop. Not seen one in 40+ years. What I would like to see checked is ‘ anglers ‘ who fish from the back of their boats. I doubt very much that these folk even know they should have a license.
Something has changed over the years.
They now say that enforcement work is intelligence led. So rather than being proactive and getting out on the banks looking for illegal stuff they would rather wait for others to report it to them. Which I find rather frustrating, especially as we have reported stuff to them before and been told to call the police, or not had any action taken at all.
 

Silverfisher

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I’ve seen ea staff but never doing checks. Tbh I was never checked full stop until last year then got checked by club bailiffs a few times until they started recognising me. As a result I’ve only been checked a couple times this year in other places and again they soon got to recognise me as well.

Tbh as some bailiffs have said to me you can usually tell who will have the proper tickets and licenses which might explain why we aren’t checked more often. Club bailiffs will probably check anyway as they’re doing so for your ticket as much as anything but in terms of pure license checks chances are a person with the right kit and an air of knowing what they’re doing is probably far less likely to get checked than someone using god knows what kit whilst appearing a bit clueless.
 

tipitinmick

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Something has changed over the years.
They now say that enforcement work is intelligence led. So rather than being proactive and getting out on the banks looking for illegal stuff they would rather wait for others to report it to them. Which I find rather frustrating, especially as we have reported stuff to them before and been told to call the police, or not had any action taken at all.

What can we report mate ? We don’t know who has a license or not do we ? And apparently now we can’t challenge another angler to see their license either. I doubt very much that either the EA or the police would turn up if you reported an incident. Like the RSPCA when I phoned them over a swan that had a plastic beer can holder around it’s neck and had tethered itself to a tree in the middle of Askern lake. They didn’t want to know. Next time I’m going to tell them I have a news crew with me. Watch how fast they attend then. 😡
 

rudd

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Suffolk water park on a weekend.
They could check 25 an hour there for a few hours with ease.
 
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