Rural Crime Officer PC Emily Thomas and local Wiltshire West PCSO Matt Till were at the Airsprung factory in Trowbridge this morning with partners from the Angling Trust.
Emily and Matt joined Angling Trust Volunteer Water Bailiff Frank Hall and Janusz Kansik from the trust's Building Bridges Team to talk to employees about how to fish responsibly in our county and how to join local fishing clubs. Janusz speaks Polish and bilingual leaflets were also available to help tackle any potential language barriers with workers.
This visit follows joint patrols between police and the Angling Trust's volunteer water bailiffs where an issue with illegal fishing along the river behind the factory was found. Confusion may have arisen as in other countries catching fish from rivers and lakes to eat is not an offence but it is not allowed in the UK.
The aim of today's visit was to try build positive relationships with the community to help everyone have a better understanding of the laws and how to fish legally.
The 'Building Bridges' Project Janusz works for, provides a facility to educate and integrate migrant anglers, focusing on prevention and education as well as enforcement. The Building Bridges staff can help British angling clubs by translating their rules into different languages and providing multi-lingual signage. They engage with migrant communities, including schools, raising awareness and encouraging people to join local clubs and fish by the rules. Any angling clubs requiring further information or assistance from Building Bridges in Wiltshire can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also currently the fishing close season for open water fishing. Closed season runs from 15 March to 15 June and is when coarse angling is suspended on rivers, streams and some specified canals and still waters to protect spawning fish. The maximum fine for fishing illegally during the close season is £50,000.
Volunteer Water Bailiff's like Frank act as the eyes and ears for the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency patrolling popular angling spots. They report any relevant intelligence about illegal activity to these organisations or to the police where appropriate to help protect fish and fisheries.
There are still opportunities to fish for coarse fish while rivers and streams are off limits. The vast majority of still waters and canals will be open and anglers should check their local byelaws (www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-fishing-byelaws ) for the list of sites included within the statutory close season.
Published on 4 April 2019.