Volunteer bailiffs carry out 2,649 patrols during 3rd National Lockdown and report 124 incidents

Members of the Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service have continued to help protect fish and fisheries during the Covid-19 crisis, carrying out 2,649 patrols during the recent national lockdown and reporting 124 incidents of illegal fishing and wider crime to the Environment Agency and Police.

They also carried out 38 joint patrols with the EA and 17 with the Police.

During the lockdown, which ran from 4th January to 29th March, 201 Volunteer Bailiffs were able to patrol their local waterways. Anglers have been able to continue to go fishing locally during the lockdown, thanks to the success of the Angling Trust’s When We Fish Again campaign.

Nino Brancato, Angling Trust National Enforcement Support Manager, said: “The fact that fishing was allowed to continue in Lockdown 3 is down to the action of the vast majority of anglers who behaved in a responsible manner during the previous lockdowns, and the campaigning efforts of the Angling Trust. Covid -19 breaches amongst anglers were rare, with only a few cases being brought to our attention.”

Heidi Stone, Environment Agency Fisheries Manager, said: “The vast majority of people fish with a licence but there will always be some who try to fish illegally. I’m pleased to see continued collaborative efforts by our enforcement officers and the Voluntary Bailiff Service. Sharing intelligence and carrying out joint patrols significantly helps protect income that we re-invest directly back into angling. This funds vital improvements to ensure we can offer the best possible service to all anglers and those looking to try out the sport.”

Incidents of illegal fishing should be reported to the Environment Agency incident number 0800 80 70 60 or the Police on 101 to report a crime that does not require an emergency response or 999 to report a crime in progress.

The Voluntary Bailiff Service is part of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service, which is funded from freshwater fishing licence money as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Environment Agency.

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