Warnings as fish stocks plunge in rivers and lakes
A poster campaign has been launched to crack down on illegal anglers suspected of plundering Northamptonshire's lakes and rivers and depleting the county's fish stocks.
Recent months have seen a marked rise in reports of anglers taking supplies for the table and using huge 40ft nets and deadlines to snare freshwater species, such as carp, bream and plaice, which are considered delicacies in some eastern European countries.
The increase in plundering of stocks has forced one fishing group – the Northampton Nene Angling Club – to abandon fishing at Delapre Lake because supplies have dwindled dramatically.
The new posters are backed by the Environment Agency and produced by the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust (FACT).
Nene Angling Club chairman Richard Stevenage Jones has welcomed the campaign and has already installed several around lakes in the county. But he said he feared many illegal anglers would simply ignore them.
He added: "I could move to Poland tomorrow and go fishing to catch whatever I want, but that is not the case here and people need to be taught what they can and cannot do. It is about education."
The "Don't steal, cook or kill fish" message is illustrated in a series of pictograms which have been tested on non-anglers and anglers alike and avoid the need for complex signs in many languages.
Pictograms are readily understood regardless of mother tongue. Originally developed by CEMEX Angling, the Company has kindly allowed FACT to develop the theme, find sponsorship for its production and to use the design to benefit all our fisheries.
The Don't steal poster addresses the problem of the removal of coarse fish from rivers, canals and lakes, which has been headline news for some time.
"If you want to catch a fish to eat - then try stillwater trout fishing" - says David Moore, Chairman of the Association of Stillwater Game Fisheries Managers (ASGFM).….
A couple of days ago, a keeper on my local river told me of an encounter he had just had with poachers. He had gone to a particularly remote part of the water after a tip-off. There, he found two men with crude coarse-fishing gear and a couple of large bags, clearly intent on filling them.
During the heated confrontation that followed, it became clear that the two men were Polish. My friend invited the pair to depart at once and to leave their tackle behind. The fact that both did, he thinks, had as much to do with the large dog at his side as with his eloquence.
The incident, minor though it was, has brought to my own back door a problem that is increasingly seen near big centres of population and areas where agriculture dominates the economy: the poaching, often by newly-arrived Eastern Europeans, of angling waters, for food and for profit.......
The initiative is timely because carp and pike are a traditional Christmas dish in Poland and officials fear an increase in fish rustling over the next few weeks.
Eastern Europeans often plead ignorance of the British tradition that catches are thrown back, and instead take them home for supper.
The posters are reminiscent of a sign devised by Luton Angling Club and also aimed at immigrants, warning that swans on the Grand Union Canal are not to be eaten..........