When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Crackdown on poaching in East Lancashire
3:00pm Saturday 2nd March 2013 in News
A POACHER Watch scheme is to be launched in a bid to clamp down on theft of fish from reservoirs.
Police met with Darwen and Rossendale MP Jake Berry, as well as fishing clubs, the Environment Agency and United Utilities to discuss the problem in East Lancashire.
Now, a Poacher Watch scheme, similar to Farm Watch, launched last year by the police to cut down on rural crime across the region, will be set up later this year.
Residents will be urged to be vigilant to stop the illegal taking of fish from East Lancashire’s reservoirs.
Mr Berry said there was an ongoing issue of poaching that needed urgent attention.
He said: “There is a specific issue of people coming from Eastern Europe who poach fish from reservoirs to eat.
“On top of that, there are those who net the reservoirs and take fish to sell commercially.
“Poaching, of course, is theft, and it can cost £17,000 a year to stock reservoirs with fish.
“We want the public to be vigilant against poaching in a scheme that will mirror the hugely successful Farm Watch.”
Darren Bedworth, Environment Agency fisheries and biodiversity team leader, said the agency was delighted to launch the project alongside the police and other partners.
He said: “The aim of the initiative is to encourage partnership working in the area of rural crime and fish poaching, with angling clubs working closely with us for the benefit of the environment and their communities.
“By working closely in this way we hope to maximise the value of people’s passion for protecting the environment.
“Anglers and members of the public play an invaluable role in protecting the natural environment by reporting any illegal activity they come across.
“We take illegal poaching very seriously indeed and will look to prosecute anyone doing so to the fullest extent of the law.”