Over the next few weeks Environment Agency officers will be visiting pubs and restaurants around the Rivers Severn and Teme to make sure they are following the law concerning the catching, handling and sale of wild salmon.
Officers will check that the salmon being served to customers has not been caught or handled illegally. They will ask proprietors for documentation which proves that:
- the fish are farmedthe fish were legally caught during the open season
- the fish were legally caught during the open season
- the fish were processed (frozen, canned or otherwise preserved) before 31 August.
Enforcement action will be taken where there is evidence that the fish have been obtained illegally. Prosecution could result in fines of up to £5,000, or even imprisonment.
The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and the Salmon Act 1986 makes it an offence to:
- handle illegally caught salmon or sea trout
- trade in salmon caught between 31 August and 1 February or sea trout between 31 August and 1 March
- trade in or be in possession of ‘unclean’ salmon or sea trout or even part of
- a salmon or sea trout before, during or after spawning.
Environment Agency officer Andy Roberts says “The salmon in our rivers are part of our heritage and protecting them is an important part of our role. Most people know that poaching salmon is illegal, but so is handling and selling illegally caught fish.
“The checks that we are carrying out in pubs and restaurants near the Rivers Severn and Teme are designed to stop this illegal trade. Similar checks in recent years have shown that most proprietors do abide by the law but it is essential that we ensure that everyone is reminded about their responsibilities.
‘If anyone suspects that fish are being handled and/or traded illegally, we would very much like to hear from them, and will treat all information in strict confidence. Contact us on the free 24hr Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60, or contact your local office by calling 08708 506 506.”