A 41-year old man from Loughborough has been successfully prosecuted after being found guilty of fishing for freshwater fish in the close season in May 2018.
The case was brought to Leicester Magistrates Court by the Environment Agency on 20 September 2018 where Clint Maskell, of Palmer Avenue, Loughborough pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a total penalty of almost £500.
The penalty includes a fine of £333 plus costs of £125 and a victim surcharge of £33 after Clint Maskell was found fishing in the close on 16 May 2018 on the River Soar at Cossington Mill, Rothley, contrary to Environment Agency byelaws and national byelaws of the Water Resources Act 1991.
Following the verdict, Pete Haslock, Fisheries Enforcement Team Leader for the Environment Agency said:
‘We regularly carry out enforcement operations in order to protect fish stocks and improve fisheries and we take all kinds of illegal fishing – including fishing in the close season, as in this case – extremely seriously.
‘We hope this case will act as a reminder to anglers of the importance of checking the byelaws in their area to find out which waterways are open to fishing during the close season. The case also shows anglers how seriously the courts take these offences.
‘Illegal fishing is not just unfair on other anglers who fish within the law, it also endangers the future of the sport by damaging the sustainability of fish stocks, so it is important for people to report any information about suspected illegal fishing to us in order for us to investigate.’
This year the annual close season ran from 15 March to 15 June. Anglers can check the byelaws in their area here.
Anyone who suspects anglers of illegal fishing are urged to contact the Environment Agency’s 24/7 hotline on 0800 807060, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.