Joint effort to tackle fisheries-related crime in North East

19 February 2016

The Angling Trust says it is looking forward to a further crackdown on fisheries-related crime, which will help to protect fish across North East England.

Representatives of four police forces – Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire – and senior fisheries officers from the Environment Agency, Northumbrian Water, the Tyne Rivers Trust, the Wear Rivers Trust and the Angling Trust have agreed to work together to help tackle the problem.

It follows a meeting in Newcastle co-ordinated by Giles Evans, Angling Trust’s Regional Enforcement Manager for the North East, highlighting the link between fisheries-related crimes and other forms of crime, such as wildlife, rural, business, organised and hate.

Giles explained how multi-agency partnership work involving the Fisheries Enforcement Support Service and the Voluntary Bailiff Service was making a difference in other parts of the country. These initiatives form part of a contract from the Environment Agency won by the Angling Trust and funded by the income from angling rod licences.

The new partnership in the North East will extend Operation Traverse – a multi-agency agreement already operating in East Anglia and East Midlands to clamp down on illegal fishing, poaching and other fisheries-related crime – and will formally be rolled out before April 1st.

Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager, said: “This is excellent work to build on the existing partnership approach in the North East that is also happening elsewhere in England.

“This is all about a shared responsibility and working together with a bigger picture very much in mind. Building on the success of the Environment Agency local enforcement team and partners, this is an exciting development, further protecting fish and fisheries in North East England, contributing to both the Rural Crime Strategy and the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit’s ‘Project Poacher’, aimed at raising awareness of the wider criminality connected with poaching in all its forms.

“The Angling Trust and the Environment Agency very much welcome the support of our partners and look forward to working together on Operation Traverse in particular.”

Chief Inspector Martin Sims, Head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, added that “with an increasing amount of stakeholders working together on a more coordinated basis, there is a real chance that fishery crime, poaching, wildlife crime and other related criminal activity has more chance of being tackled effectively. I look forward to the on-going collaboration arising from this very positive energy.”

Giles Evans said: “I am really pleased that Operation Traverse will be rolled out in the North East. There was genuine desire among everyone involved to make this a success.”

Dave Edwardson, Environment Agency Enforcement Team Leader added: “We have enjoyed considerable success working with police and others over the years to combat illegal fishing. This new initiative is very welcome, reinforcing and extending the partnership approach and securing ongoing protection for our freshwater fisheries.”

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