Threatening fisherman nets himself a hefty fine

The Environment Agency has prosecuted a Kent man for fishing without a licence and giving a false name and address to Water Bailiffs.

Mr Michael Whipp of Burrfield Drive, Orpington appeared before Bexley Magistrates Court on 18 January 2007. He was fined a hefty £300 for fishing without a licence, a further £300 for giving a false name and address and was ordered to pay the maximum £70 costs to the Environment Agency.

The court heard that on the 16 June 2006 Mr Whipp contravened section 27(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 by fishing without a licence at Ruxley Lakes in Sidcup. When water bailiffs attempted to question Mr Whipp about his activities he became aggressive and threatening towards the Officers. The offender then proceeded to provide a false name and address.

Fisheries Team Leader for the Environment Agency in Kent, Jon Whitmore, said: “Those who fish without a licence are not only risking hefty fines, they are also cheating their fellow anglers and the future of angling. Fisheries laws are in place to protect the environment, so they must be adhered to. We are pleased that the Magistrates took this case seriously, especially as this angler was so aggressive when approached by our officers”

The Environment Agency puts all money raised from rod licences straight back into fisheries work, which helps to protect the environment. Part of this is essential auditing of the stocking of fish to make sure issued consents are adhered to.

The Environment Agency issues consents that govern fish introductions to minimise the wider environmental impact. These are issued after considering fish species, numbers, presence of parasites and the location of both the receiving water and the source water. Applications to stock fish that pose a potential risk to the environment are often audited.

Money made from rod licences enabled Environment Agency Fishery Bailiffs to carry out this work at Otter Pool, in Kent, over the previous weekend. Mark Simmonds of Heather Fisheries, who introduced the fish to Otter Pool, said “This sends a clear message to those people out there that are moving fish without consent, that the Environment Agency take fish stocking seriously. Even if this means working at the weekend!”

Kevin Dennett of the syndicate that bought the fish off Heather Fisheries said: “It was good to see the Environment Agency checking everything was in order.”