THE Angling Trust has launched a ‘Seven Point Plan’ to tackle poaching and fish theft in English waters after barrage of incidents in recent years.

Even last week, we revealed three Bulgarians were fined a total of £726 for poaching on the River Wye by Hereford Magistrates Court.

The sport’s governing body have acted as there have been widespread reports of poaching and large numbers of fish being taken illegally by individuals and even criminal gangs throughout the country.

The plan includes including appointing two acclimatized Polish anglers who love the English way of fishing of a part-time basis to educate their peers.

For more on this amazing story, buy this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine, which includes an exclusive  “cut out and keep” guide to help YOU stop poaching and illegal fish-taking near YOU.

The Trust’s 7 point plan is published below in full.


Building Bridges

The Trust has appointed two members of staff to work with member clubs and fisheries to address illegal fishing in parts of the South West and the East of England. These pilot projects have sent messages to foreign national anglers in their own language to explain the rules of fishing in this country. Farmers employing foreign temporary workers are also being made aware of the problem and being asked to help combat it. Many of these anglers simply don’t understand the rules. Once educated, they are prepared to catch and release their fish and can become active and committed members of clubs and good customers of commercial fisheries. More details on Building Bridges HERE. Posters are available for download HERE.


The Angling Trust has helped to fund and promote the Crimestoppers initiative (along with CEFAS, the Environment Agency and others) which provides a confidential freephone number 0800 555111 for anglers, clubs and fisheries to report illegal fishing activity, thefts and illegal fish movements. Free posters are available for clubs and fisheries to help raise awareness of this number.

Legal Advice to Members

The Angling Trust’s legal arm (Fish Legal) has provided a fact sheet for member clubs, fisheries and riparian owners about their legal position in the event of poaching or theft and what they should do if poaching occurs on their waters. Fish Legal members should call 01568 620447 to request a copy.

Advice to Police

Fish Legal has collaborated with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, a special police task force, to raise awareness of the offence of poaching within regional police forces. This move is in response to members raising concerns that responses by local police to reported instances of poaching have been unsatisfactory and as a result it is unclear who people should contact when poaching occurred.

Volunteer Bailiffs

The Angling Trust is working with the Environment Agency to develop a pilot scheme to recruit volunteers from angling clubs who can work alongside warranted officers from the EA to provide intelligence and check anglers’ rod licences, so that the EA can focus its expert resources on tackling serious poachers and criminal activity. 

Poacher Watch Website

The Trust is developing a website for anglers to report poaching, in a similar way to its Cormorant Watch site (www.cormorantwatch.org). Funding is being sought for this project from the angling trade.

Political Pressure

The Trust has raised the issue of enforcement of fisheries laws and byelaws at the highest levels of the Environment Agency and Marine Management Organisation. There are widespread concerns among anglers that the investigation and prosecution of poachers is decreasing, when the problem is increasing.

Help stop the fish takers - and get a FREE rod licence voucher and day ticket vouchers - with this week's Angler's Mail magazine.

  • Martin Noble

    I am all for the 7 POINT PLAN TO TACKLE POACHING but some what feel it doesn’t work!
    I live on a farm to which 25 years ago my father built my brothers & I a lake & stocked it with a good head of carp. As you can imagine 25 years later the carp are a very good size! Well…were before recently they had all been stolen bar 3 or 4!
    I caught 3 men by the lake which is on private property throwing in bait, I immediately chucked them out but quietly followed them as I knew they were up to no good!
    They eventually came to a nearby pub car park to a van which when they opened the back was full of large tanks of water! Obviously to put fish into! I got the number plate and reported it to the police who were not interested in the slightest, they said unless I knew exactly who it was there’s nothing they can do, even though I had there number plate.
    Anyway, later on inspection of the lake I found long lines in the water with up to 10 hooks on each line.
    I suddenly realise this had probably been going on for quite a while under our noses as unless you really looked hard you couldn’t even notice these lines in the water.
    By this time im not a happy man but it gets worse!
    We have a small cabin next to the lake with a little kitchen so we can make food & drinks while fishing etc. 1 week later this cabin is broken into and most of the gear in there is stolen, sleeping bags, tents, cooking gear etc. Again the police are called but same sort of response, there’s not alot they can do!
    2 Days later im out with my dad in the car & to my amazement we come across the 3 guys who I chucked out the by the lake previously, parked up in a car park with the doors of the van open!
    This time we decide to confront them ourselves. As we approach the van all the gear that was stolen out of our cabin is in the back of this guys van! unbelievable!
    My dad instantly questions them about what they’ve done with all our fish & they start getting really aggressive with us. I get straight on the phone to the police & they are there within a few minutes, caught red handed with all our gear in the back of his van along with long lines etc. The van owner was arrested & taken away in the police wagon.
    Later that day he is release with no charge!! The police once again said there wasn’t enough evidence for a case even though all our stolen stuff was in the back of his van, evidence of poaching gear & I caught them at the lake red-handed!
    Please tell me what is the point of reporting these incidences & scum people if this is the end result?!
    Looking back now I wish I had got all my brothers together & sorted things out ourselves if you know what I mean, but I know we would of probably got in more trouble than them!
    As the lake was lightly fished the carp weren’t very wary so quite easy to catch. All of the original stock of carp, around 150 are gone now apart from maybe 3 or 4. They lake is ruined & 25 years of hard work & slow growing old English carp is down the drain. I guess We will have to wait another 25 years before we can enjoy it once again & in the mean time these mindless people are probably doing this at some other poor persons lake who will have the same outcome as us, & they will get off scot-free!

    Martin – Southampton