RIVERS are currently lower than for many years... but scores of anglers are in deep water with prosecution for river offences back in the Close Season.

Environment Agency enforcement officers and Angling Trust voluntary bailiffs caught 87 anglers red handed on rivers during the Close Season, between March 15 to June 15.

And they also clocked up 115 other fishing offences including fishing without a licence on flowing waters as part of their sixth annual Operation CLAMPDOWN campaign.

Kevin Austin, EA deputy director of fisheries said: “I’d like to thank the Angling Trust volunteers for the significant role they play in stopping illegal fishing through their work on Operation CLAMPDOWN.

“The vast majority of anglers fish legally but sadly there are a small number of anglers who cheat others by fishing during the Close Season.

“It is still possible for anglers to fish during this time on many stillwaters and canals, which are open all year round.

“We respond to the intelligence we receive about illegal fishing by ensuring our patrols are targeted at the right places – and the right people.”

In total, officers undertook 729 targeted patrols and as well as the rod and licence offences, found several illegally set traps.

Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust national enforcement Manager, said: “These figures show that volunteer bailiffs throughout England are demonstrating their massive commitment to protecting fish and fisheries and cracking down on illegal fishing.

“All anglers can help this process, in fact – at any time of year – by reporting information and offences in progress to the EA on 0800 80 70 60, or the police on 101/999.”

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