A QUICK-THINKING angler saved dozens of prime coarse fish from being killed by calling the Environment Agency’s incident hotline to report illegal netting.
Two EA officers and three Police officers from Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Action Team rushed to the River Nene, near March. They searched for the poachers, but they had got away.
The pro-active effort by the angler allowed a swift response, and all the fish were released alive, including 15 bream of up to 8 lb, five rudd to 2 lb, perch to 1 lb 8 oz and a tench.
The River Nene net was seized by the EA who, along with Cambridgeshire Police, are stepping up patrols in the area to increase the chances of catching poachers.
Fisheries officer Kye Jerrom said: “Large-scale fish removal by poachers using nets is the worst scenario for fisheries. The impact can be huge.
“Netting is indiscriminate and illegal, damaging and killing huge numbers of fish.
“The help of a passing member of the public, who is a fisherman and works in the area, prevented what could have been a major fish theft and environmental incident.
Kye continued: “Netting incidents are our top priority, and two of the team were quickly dispatched, while observing social-distancing guidance.
“Within 40 minutes of receiving the call, officers of the Rural Crime Action Team were on site.
“The area was thoroughly searched into the evening, on foot and by air using a drone.
“While no offenders were detained, the risk to the environment was removed and the illegal activity was disrupted. Thank you to all involved.
“Please be vigilant for illegal fishing activity, and report it to our emergency hotline number – 0800 80 70 60.
“Your call provides us with the best chance to attend and protect fisheries and the environment,” added Kye.
Last month, Angler’s Mail revealed that poachers were using the coronavirus pandemic to strike at fishing venues while they are unattended.
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