Dozens of illegal fishing nets and traps seized during pandemic

Environment Agency staff member with some of the illegal traps he found

Environment Agency staff member with some of the illegal traps he found - Credit: Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has seen an increase in the amount of illegal fishing devices found along East Anglian river banks.

In just eight months, 52 illegal fishing traps and nets were retrieved.

26 were found in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, 14 in Suffolk and Essex, and 12 in Norfolk.

In 2019, a total of 30 traps were seized across East Anglia.

Environment Agency staff member with some of the illegal traps he found

Environment Agency staff member with some of the illegal traps he found - Credit: Environment Agency

The illegal instruments trap eels, crayfish, water voles, otters and coarse fish.

They are a significant risk to wildlife and fish stocks.

Lesley Robertson, enforcement team leader for Essex, Norfolk & Suffolk, said:

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"Traps and nets can often be seen from the river bank, and identified by a rope tied to the bankside.

“Our officers are regularly out patrolling the river banks, and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where anglers are found to be flouting the rules.”

There are strict rules when it comes to trapping or fishing for crayfish, eels, salmon, sea trout, lamprey and smelt.

An Environment Agency licence is needed to do so. More details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/permission-to-trap-crayfish-eels-elvers-salmon-and-sea-trout

All sightings of illegal nets or traps should be reported to 0800 807060.