Hampshire Police have formally pledged to support the fight to protect fish and fisheries by becoming a partner in Operation TRAVERSE – the Angling Trust initiated, multi-agency activity targeting illegal fishing and fish theft.
The agreement was made earlier this month at the South East Fisheries Enforcement Workshop in Hungerford, organised by the Angling Trust and funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income.
David W. Wilkins, the Trust’s Regional Enforcement Manager for the South East, said: “This is terrific news for responsible and law abiding anglers in Hampshire. We look forward to working with Hampshire Police and will be signing up more forces in South East region to join the majority of forces in England and Wales already committed to working with anglers to make our waterways safer.”
Dilip Sarkar MBE, the Trust’s National Enforcement Manager, said: “This is another step forward for the vision in action, more support for the Environment Agency locally and should give anglers greater confidence that their issues are being taken seriously and addressed.”
Sergeant Andrew Williams, of Hampshire Police, said: “We fully support the Fisheries Enforcement campaign and fully appreciate anglers’ concerns. In Hampshire, we are lucky to have some of the finest angling rivers and lakes in the country and we, as a force, are committed to addressing both Rural and Wildlife Crime, so this very much fits within those objectives.
“We would urge anglers to report any incidents in progress, or any information, to us if concerning a criminal matter or to the Environment Agency if regarding a fisheries or rod licence offence. We look forward to working with all our partners to make a difference.”
Mike O’Neill, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in Solent & South Downs, said: “We welcome this strengthening of our partnership with Hampshire Police and the Angling Trust. Effective protection of fish stocks often requires a multi-agency approach to tackle determined poachers. This support is essential in tackling illegal fishing.”