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Close season for coarse fishing now in effect

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Anglers are being reminded by the Environment Agency that the ‘close season’ for coarse fishing in rivers has come into effect and runs until June 15.

The annual close season helps to protect fish stocks across England when they are spawning by preventing fishing for coarse fish in rivers, streams, drains and specified canals, as well as ‘sites of special scientific interest’ stillwaters.

Throughout the close season, Environment Agency officers conduct patrols to enforce the close season. As part of Operation Clampdown, now in its ninth year, Angling Trust (AT) volunteers support the EA by keeping watch on riverbanks and reporting incidents to the 24-hour incident hotline.

The close season for coarse fishing in rivers has now started.
The close season for coarse fishing in rivers has now started.

EA fisheries enforcement officers and AT volunteer bailiffs patrol riverbanks to ensure anglers observe the close season rules.

They also regularly patrol lakes, canals and ponds to make sure all anglers have a valid rod fishing licence. Anyone fishing without a fishing licence can face a court hearing and run the risk of prosecution.

Lesley Robertson, enforcement team leader in East Anglia, said: “Our fisheries enforcement officers will be carrying out regular patrols of the waters during the close season between March 15 and June 15 inclusive.

“The close season for coarse fishing is there for a reason and those who break the rules may be prosecuted and given a hefty fine.”

Kevin Austin, deputy director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency, continued: “The close season aims to protect fish while they are spawning which improves the health and resilience of our fish stocks.

“Alongside our fisheries improvement work, the close season gives our fish populations the chance to recover.

“We always encourage everyone to give fishing a go but we are aware not all will know of fishing rules like the close season.

“Last year was one of our busiest as we saw many new anglers enter the sport. If you know a new angler, please remind them of the close season dates.”

Nino Brancato, Angling Trust national enforcement support manager, continued: “The close season will provide a great opportunity for the Fisheries Enforcement Support Service and the Voluntary Bailiff Service to work closely with the Environment Agency and police during Operation Clampdown.

“Our dedicated volunteer bailiffs will be out on patrol and taking part in coordinated joint activity around the nation’s waterways in an eyes and ears capacity – gathering intelligence and reporting incidents in support of our enforcement partners as part of our multi-agency approach to protecting fish and fisheries.”

Anglers who do still want to get out on the banks during close season can still visit many stillwaters and canals, depending on landowner agreement, or try their hand at trout fishing, though a valid fishing licence is still required.”

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