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Arrests in Durham Illegal Fishing Operation

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Two people have been arrested in Durham city centre as part of a continuing crack-down on illegal fishing.

 


Source: Environment Agency

 


Environment Agency officers and Durham Police swooped on Framwellgate, on the River Wear on the night of Tuesday 17 September and seized eight migratory fish, two fishing rods and a large amount of illegal equipment.


The surveillance activities are being carried out as part of ‘Operation Dastard’. A similar night-time swoop a week ago saw seven arrested for poaching salmon.
The suspects apprehended were interviewed by Environment Agency enforcement officers in police custody to gather evidence before being released.


The EA explained:

‘They were using bare treble hooks and weighted lines to deliberately ‘foul hook’ salmon or sea trout as they made their journey up to the headwaters to spawn.


Foul hooking is a technique where the hook impales the fish about its body or head rather than the fish taking the hook in its mouth out of choice. Not only is this an illegal method but fish that are caught in this way can sometimes break free from the hook or snap the line and become susceptible to disease and may die before reaching the spawning grounds.


Salmon and sea trout are a valuable ecological, economic and sustainable fish stock. Their migratory life cycle makes them extremely vulnerable to long-term damage if illegal poaching activities continue. A large female salmon may carry up to 10,000 eggs, so if these fish are illegally removed it can have a major impact on future fish stocks in local rivers.’


Kevin Summerson Team Leader Fisheries Enforcement at the Environment Agency said:

“We had continued to receive information from members of the public and concerned anglers that illegal activity was still happening in Durham city centre.

These poachers are not taking ‘one for the pot’, they are taking high numbers of fish that are often sold on for monetary gain.

The methods that are being used can have a dramatic impact on wildlife, cause serious damage to already threatened fish stocks, our natural heritage, and ruin the sport for legitimate anglers and future generations.

The Environment Agency is committed to eliminating illegal fishing. We urge anglers and members of the public to report any suspicious fishing equipment or fishing activities that they come across, particularly at night. We take illegal fishing very seriously and will look to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. With accurate and recent information to hand we can use our resource to its best advantage and continue to deliver effective targeted enforcement.”     


Anyone tempted to carry out such illegal activity should remember that use of prohibited instruments to take or attempt to take fish carries a maximum penalty of £2,500 and three months imprisonment. As well as financial penalties, those found guilty can be banned from holding a fishing licence for a period of up to five years and may have to forfeit any fishing equipment they were using. It is also an offence to buy and sell salmon that has been taken illegally.


If anyone thinks they have seen any illegal fishing, they should phone the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807060 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


National and regional byelaws can be found on the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish .

 







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Comments (15 posted):

tackletrout on 19/09/2013 10:47:29
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New article posted on Flyfishing.co.uk: Arrests in Durham Illegal Fishing Operation More poachers captured.....Well done to the EA
micklmass on 19/09/2013 16:44:35
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Scum of the earth, im pleased E.A have put our money to good use and apprehended these low lifes who think they are above the law. "WELL DONE THE E.A":thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
ohanzee on 19/09/2013 16:59:14
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''The suspects apprehended were interviewed by Environment Agency enforcement officers in police custody to gather evidence before being released'' I'm curious whether charges were brought?
micklmass on 19/09/2013 17:49:05
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I would like to thinks so.
geoffmaynard on 19/09/2013 19:37:49
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"Anyone tempted to carry out such illegal activity should remember that use of prohibited instruments to take or attempt to take fish carries a maximum penalty of 2,500 and three months imprisonment. As well as financial penalties, those found guilty can be banned from holding a fishing licence for a period of up to five years and may have to forfeit any fishing equipment they were using. It is also an offence to buy and sell salmon that has been taken illegally." But the reality is that under the Nanny state system we have inherited they will probably get fined 25 and carry on doing it. Depressing...
ohanzee on 19/09/2013 20:32:53
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But the reality is that under the Nanny state system we have inherited they will probably get fined 25 and carry on doing it. Depressing... Very likely, i'm now curious about the inheritance bit, the law has been around for a while now, how its enforced now is someone else's fault?
BENDINO on 20/09/2013 00:06:46
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Well done & good effort to all those involved in the op :thumbs: Rob
Bri on 20/09/2013 08:22:10
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But the reality is that under the Nanny state system we have inherited they will probably get fined 25 and carry on doing it. Depressing... A little more than 25 in this case!! From the Environment Agency: Poachers tackle seized and destroyed by court 04-Oct-2011 A Teesside man had his rod and line seized yesterday as punishment for poaching salmon. Teesside Crown Court also gave Thomas Cunningham (43) of Thornaby, a two-year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay 2,000 costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the case. Cunningham pleaded guilty to five charges of poaching and not guilty to two further charges, which were left to lie on file. Intelligence Alec Burns, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that in August 2010 the fisheries enforcement team received intelligence that Cunningham was poaching fish from the River Tees near the Tees Barrage at Stockton. On three different days during September the officers filmed Cunningham stroke-hauling, where a multiple-hook is tied on to a line, cast into the water and dragged back in the hope of hooking a fish in its body. In August 2011 officers again received intelligence that Cunningham was poaching fish. They videoed him stroke-hauling on two days that month and on 11 August arrested him. He was taken to Middlesbrough Police Station to be interviewed and, having been shown the evidence, admitted the allegations put to him.
tackletrout on 20/09/2013 08:49:33
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Taken from the EA websites. 04-Jul-2013 Two men have been found guilty of illegal poaching and were fined a total of 710 at Warrington Magistrates Court yesterday. Fish caught in a netGintaras Valiukonis and Arturas Bulota have been prosecuted by The Environment Agency for attempting to take 100s of Carp, Pike and Bream from the River Mersey between 19 January and 23 January 2013. The use of nets, such as the Gill Nets used in this case, would quickly damage fish populations and affect the wider natural balance and health of our rivers. Healthy rivers depend on a balanced population of fish and iconic species such as the Kingfisher and the Great Crested Greb would simply disappear without them. There is a thriving angling industry in the North West. Around 170,000 people buy rod licences in the region every year, generating over 3 million, that is ploughed back into the improving the quality of our rivers and lakes. The River Mersey was once the most polluted river in Europe, but over the past 25 years more than 1 billion has been invested in cleaning it up. The river is now cleaner than it has been in over a century - so clean that it is now a popular destination for anglers and tourists. They do not always succeed Last year we checked over 80,000 licences and prosecuted over 2700 licence cheats. We also prosecuted 138 people for poaching offences. Between them, they were ordered to pay fines of over 335,000. The maximum fine for fishing without a licence is 2,500. The maximum fine for poaching is 50,000. Buy your rod licence on line How to report illegal fishing Have you seen something that doesn't look right? Help us stop people damaging your sport. If you see anyone fishing illegally, please don't approach them yourself. Call us on 0800 80 70 60 and tell us: exactly where the alleged offence is happening what is happening the methods used how many people are involved and a description of them a description and the registration numbers of any vehicles whether it is happening at that moment whether this happens regularly at this location Please leave a contact number so we can call you back.
geoffmaynard on 20/09/2013 11:43:03
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Sounds like the judge was an angler for a change :)
ohanzee on 20/09/2013 13:22:59
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Teesside Crown Court also gave Thomas Cunningham (43) of Thornaby, a two-year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay 2,000 costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the case This is interesting, the 2000 is presumably court fees, the conditional discharge presumably means if he is caught again he will face some sort of actual penalty for the crime, i'm guessing he has a history of this, what i'm getting at is what goes on his record, i'm not seeing any evidence of an actual fine or penalty, if i exceed 30mph once and get flashed on camera i get 3 points and a fine, if i got as lucky as this guy i could take it to court, pay their costs and leave with a clean licence.
sueness83 on 20/09/2013 14:29:11
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I know of a few people whove actually watch that guy in action below the tees barrage. He was there almost every day when the salmon or sea trout are running for at least a couple of hours. As if the salmon dont have enough of a hard time on the tees trying to get past all the seals and up the barrage, proper bad crack. The tees should be on par with the Wear and Tyne but sadly because of nuggets like him and the barrage its not! Shame as well its on 2 min from my parents house.
lochbois on 20/09/2013 15:51:40
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I attended the opening day at the Tees Barrage on thursday 19 september. There were not many Anglers at the opening day which was noted by the E/A. But while we were being shown round the fish passages and fish counter at the Teesbarrage two anglers were fishing a few yards from the gates which is prohibited according to the E/A. I dont understand why people think they can get away with breaking the laws so close to the Teesbarrage,its like walking into the building society to rob them with no mask on your face and expecting not to be caught. Big brothers watching you everywhere.
ohanzee on 20/09/2013 16:05:56
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I attended the opening day at the Tees Barrage on thursday 19 september. There were not many Anglers at the opening day which was noted by the E/A. But while we were being shown round the fish passages and fish counter at the Teesbarrage two anglers were fishing a few yards from the gates which is prohibited according to the E/A. I dont understand why people think they can get away with breaking the laws so close to the Teesbarrage,its like walking into the building society to rob them with no mask on your face and expecting not to be caught. Big brothers watching you everywhere. Were they prosecuted?
lochbois on 20/09/2013 16:40:17
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We didnt stay to see what happened the meeting lasted longer than planned because of lack of support and my friend had an important appointment.
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