Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue at 9:49 am

Public urged to report poachers

by LC

Illegal fishing activity damages the Island’s economy and biodiversity and should be reported.

That is the message from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), which is issuing its annual plea to the public to help prevent the poaching of salmon and sea trout.

River fisheries are closed for the winter to allow these fish to spawn.

Members of the public who spot anyone taking fish from rivers are urged to alert DEFA on 01624 685857 or their local police station if outside of office hours.

The appeal for vigilance extends to the migratory fish protection zone, which extends 750m out from the high water mark between The Stack at the northern point of Peel bay clockwise round to the northern side of Ramsey harbour. 

Bye-laws restrict netting within the zone to protect salmon and sea trout migrating to and from rivers.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘Recreational fishing is an important part of our visitor economy and is popular with residents.

‘The closure of the river fisheries allows fish to breed undisturbed and illegal fishing can reduce the numbers of salmon and sea trout returning in the future.’

The Minister added: ‘People should not confront poachers but should report their suspicions as quickly as possible.

‘Fisheries officers conduct regular night-time patrols during high-risk periods, liaising closely with the Isle of Man Constabulary, which takes wildlife crime seriously.

‘However, neither officers nor the police can be everywhere. Information on suspicious activity helps resources to be deployed efficiently and effectively.’

Constable Mark Kerruish, police Wildlife Crime Officer, said: ‘Fisheries offences are taken seriously and the force will always endeavour to respond to reported incidents. 

‘People who illegally net fish on beaches often use vehicles to facilitate the offence. Without authorisation, it is an offence to drive on beaches and doing so risks confiscation of the vehicle as well as prosecution.’

River fisheries reopen on 1st April 2018 and details of fishing opportunities and licence requirements can be found on the freshwater fishing page of www.gov.im/defa or by calling fisheries on 685857.

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