High-tech drones are being used to crackdown on illegal fishing in the Burnham-On-Sea area.
Environment Agency Fisheries Officers have announced this week that they are clamping down on illegal activities, with the help of Avon and Somerset’s Police drone unit.
They say a drone can quickly scan miles of river bank and alert the Environment Agency to the presence of suspicious activity which may require further investigation.
Fisheries Officer, Richard Dearnley, says: “We take illegal fishing seriously. It’s through partnership working like this that we can send a clear message to those who break the law.”
“Anyone committing offences can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine. Not only does illegal fishing damage the sport, it also poses a serious risk of spreading fish diseases and invasive species.”
Sergeant Colin Powell from Avon and Somerset Police’s drone unit adds: “Drones offer a supplement to officers on the ground and are increasingly used by police to assist in searches and to offer a different angle to crime scenes and major incidents.”
“It’s been great to join up with the Environment Agency and expand the use of our drones in combatting illegal activity.”
Environment Agency Fisheries Officers say that anyone fishing illegally can expect to be prosecuted and to face a fine of up to £2,500. Anyone who uses illegal methods faces a prison sentence of potentially two years and a fine of up to £50,000 for byelaw offences.
If you suspect illegal fishing to be taking place you can report the matter to the hotline on 0800 807060 or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Buying a rod licence is easy – you can buy them online, starting at just £6.
The Environment Agency says that money raised from rod licence sales is reinvested in the environment, including a whole range of projects to improve facilities for anglers, protect stocks, plus fish restocking, invasive species eradication. The money is also used to work with partners to encourage people to take-up fishing.