The Environment Agency is reminding anglers the ‘close season’ for coarse fish in rivers comes into effect from Monday March 15 and runs until June 15.
The annual close season helps to protect fish stocks across England when they are spawning by preventing fishing for coarse fish in rivers, streams, drains and specified canals, as well as ‘sites of special scientific interest’ (SSSI) stillwaters.
Throughout the close season, Environment Agency officers conduct patrols to enforce the close season. As part of Operation CLAMPDOWN, now in its ninth year, Angling Trust (AT) volunteers support the EA by keeping watch on riverbanks and reporting incidents to the 24-hour incident hotline.
EA fisheries enforcement officers and AT volunteer bailiffs patrol riverbanks to ensure anglers observe the close season rules. They also regularly patrol lakes, canals and ponds to make sure all anglers have a valid rod fishing licence. Anyone fishing without a fishing licence can face a court hearing and run the risk of prosecution.
Ian Hirst, team leader for the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire fisheries team, said: “Our fisheries enforcement work continues throughout the close season and we will be working closely with Cambridgeshire police. Any angler caught fishing during this time will be prosecuted and may receive a substantial fine.
“Members of the public are asked to report any illegal fishing activity to 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”