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.

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