Over 25 anglers were given offence report forms by Environment Agency officers during spot-checks over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Six officers targeted rivers in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Northamptonshire between Friday 29 March and Monday 1 April. Across the four counties, they checked 452 anglers’ registration details, and issued a total of 28 Offence Report Forms (ORF).
The areas targeted were ones with a reputation for having a high evasion rate that were chosen thanks to intelligence gained from the Environment Agency.
Lesley Robertson, Environmental Crime Team Leader, said: “We monitor the river all year round, no matter the weather, and our fisheries enforcement officers were out during the bank holiday weekend.
“We were pleased to see that most anglers had valid rod licences, as all the money the Environment Agency receives from sales is spent improving fisheries.
“Those law-abiding anglers were very happy to see our officers out on the ground and were encouraged by our continued stance against illegal fishing.
In Norfolk, 16 per cent of anglers received forms, while the figure was 6.5 per cent in Cambridgeshire and 6.0 per cent in Norfolk. However, none of the 78 people checked in Northamptonshire was found to be fishing without a valid rod licence. These figures are broken down further below.
Essex: 62 checks & 11 ORF
Norfolk: 12 checks & 4 ORF
Northamptonshire: 18 checks & 0 ORF
Essex: 121 checks & 3 ORF
Norfolk: 17 checks & 0 ORF
Cambridgeshire: 92 checks & 6 ORF
Norfolk: 8 checks & 0 ORF
Northamptonshire: 36 checks & 0 ORF
Essex: 49 checks & 0 ORF
Norfol: 13 checks & 4 ORF
Northamptonshire: 24 checks & 0 ORF
Bank holiday weekend total
Cambridgeshire: 92 checks & 6 ORF (6.5%)
Essex: 232 checks & 14 ORF (6.0%)
Norfolk: 50 checks & 8 ORF (16.0%)
Northamptonshire: 78 checks & 0 ORF (0%)
Combined total: 452 checks & 28 ORF (6.19%)
Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers check rod licenses throughout the fishing season and check waters for illegal fishing during the close season.
All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods. Rod licences run from 1 April to 31 March and fishing without one can lead to a substantial fine.
To help crack down on unlicensed anglers report illegal activity to 0800 80 70 60. You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.
An annual rod licence for the 2012/13 season remains at 2011 prices, costing £27 for non-migratory trout and char and freshwater fish and eels or £72 for salmon and migratory trout. Concessionary licences, which cost £5, are available to juvenile anglers (aged 12-17). Anglers under 12 do not require a licence.
Anglers over 65 and anyone with a Blue Badge parking concession or in receipt of Disability Living Allowance also pays the concessionary adult rate of £18 (non-migratory trout and char and freshwater fish and eels) and £48 (salmon and migratory trout).
One to eight-day licences for occasional anglers are also available for £3.75 and £10 (non-migratory trout and char and freshwater fish and eels) or £8 and £23 (salmon and migratory trout).
Licences may be bought from post offices, via the Environment Agency website (www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish) or by dialling 0844 800 5386. Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence.
Anyone caught without a valid rod licence can expect to be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £2,500.