Illegal fishing threatens the future of fishing in much of the country
- and our stretch @ South Stoke is not immune !
As commented on by Paul Stevens in his Chairman's letter (February) ...
Illegal fishing: I have recently experienced something I have previously heard of, but never witnessed until last Sunday (8th February) ... a small boat came along on the far side of the river, and he was clearly 'trawling' the river. This sort of activity has been seen and reported in Oxford and other parts of the Thames in recent months, but it appears we are now being targeted.
Apparently, the occupants take all fish they net and sell this on the open market - even now, when many fish would be/or getting ready to spawn. Sadly these fish will never be able to restock our waters.
Many of the people involved reportedly come from cultures where such fishing is the normal and are very clever in what and how they do it, covering up names on boats etc, thereby making reporting them harder.
I urge anyone who may witness this sort of activity to take a photo (most mobiles have cameras) and call the 'incident hotline' on 0800 80 70 60 as quickly as possible - stating where and when the incident took place. We MUST do our best to stop this crime becoming more frequent and damaging your fishing stocks irreparably.
... this is not a problem 'that happens somewhere else'. It is happening on our doorstep and in neighboroughing waters. With the breeding/spawning season approaching (and all responsible anglers respecting the closed season [15th March - 15th June]) our fishing stocks - and future sustainability - are at their greatest risk from this activity.
A wide range of press have highlighted the issue of the past few years, but the problem continues to grow:
Thames Anglers' Conservancy 2nd March 2012 "Illegal fishing net found at Teddington"
Express 23rd March 2013 "British rivers stripped of fish by East European poachers"
Spalding Guardian 18th November 2014 "Police trawl for illegal anglers"
What can you do to help ?
1) Add the 'incident hotline' (0800 80 70 60) to your mobile phonebook now.
2) When near the river just keep an eye out for any possible fishing activity during the closed season (15th March - 15th June) and suspicious activity involving nets, fishing pots etc year round.
3) If you spot anything try to take a photograph (but do not place yourself in a confrontational situation)
4) Phone the 'incident hotline' as soon as possible - giving details of the location and your suspicions.