Multiple anglers in Yorkshire and the North East have been fined substantial amounts for engaging in illegal fishing activities without valid licenses this year.
The Environment Agency presented these cases to Hull Magistrates Court on June 29, 2023.
One of the individuals, Jordan Martin Meredith Davies (31) from Granville Court, Walmer, was found guilty of fishing without a license on the River Wansbeck in Bothal, Morpeth, on February 8, 2023. In addition, Mr. Davies was charged with several other offenses, including using multiple rods and lines while fishing for salmonids, fishing for trout during the closed season, and leaving an unattended rod and line with bait or hook. Despite his absence, he was proven guilty and ordered to pay a total penalty of £555, which includes a fine of £300, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £120.
In a separate case, Paul Mountford (39) from Prospect Walk, Camblesforth, Selby, was found guilty of fishing without a license at Newhay Lakes in Selby on February 18, 2023. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £443, comprising a fine of £220, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £88.
Ethan Jones (21) from Dodthorpe, Hull, was found guilty of fishing without a license and fishing during the closed season for coarse fish at Beverley Beck End on the River Hull on March 21, 2023. He received a penalty of £443, including a fine of £220, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £88.
Caitlin Sakacs (31) from Thompson Avenue, Bradford, pleaded guilty to fishing without a license at Birkwood Fisheries Normanton on February 12, 2023, and was ordered to pay a total penalty of £240. This penalty comprises a fine of £100, costs of £100, and a victim surcharge of £40.
Paul Cintos (24) from Edgware Place, Leeds, was found guilty of fishing without a license at Birkwood Fisheries Normanton on February 12, 2023. He was penalized with a total amount of £443, including a fine of £220, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £88.
Vasile Amarioarei (51) from Balby Road, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to fishing without a license near the River Don in Hexthorpe on February 12, 2023. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £116, which includes a fine of £40, costs of £60, and a victim surcharge of £16.
Paul Caygill, an Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officer, commented, “We hope the penalties received by these illegal anglers will act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of breaking the laws and bylaws we have in place across England. The cases show how seriously the courts take these offenses, and the anglers have been rightly punished for the illegal fishing they undertook. They could have purchased a 1-day rod license for just £6.60 or an annual license for £33 and avoided both the fine and court process.”
Illegal fishing undermines the efforts of the Environment Agency in protecting fish stocks and promoting sustainable fishing practices. The funds generated from fishing license sales are used to enhance fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of anglers. Individuals caught violating the system will always face prosecution.
The Environment Agency, in collaboration with partners such as the police and the Angling Trust, conducts enforcement activities throughout the year. In the period from 2021 to 2022, fisheries enforcement officers checked over 41,000 fishing licenses and successfully prosecuted nearly 730 anglers for fishing without a license.
Anglers are reminded that any individual aged 13 or above fishing in rivers, canals, or still waters in England and Wales must possess a valid fishing license. Annual licenses start from £33 and can be purchased online or by phone. Further information and the option to buy 1-day, 8-day, or 12-month licenses can be found on the official website, with the added convenience of digital licenses to reduce postage costs and allocate more funds to fisheries.