Environment Agency targeting Yorkshire businesses in clampdown on illegal salmon

Restaurants and retailers are to be targeted by enforcement officers in a clampdown on illegal salmon being sold, the Environment Agency says.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 9:38 pm
Environment officers are targeting businesses in Yorkshire in a crackdown on illegal salmon fishing. Picture Owen Humphreys/PA

Officers are to visit Yorkshire businesses including hotels, pubs and fish mongers across the region in the campaign to protect wild salmon, while the River Esk and North Yorkshire coast are also being patrolled by bailiffs both overtly and covertly.

Changes to laws protecting salmon and trout last year mean it is now illegal to hunt and kill wild salmon in England, except in a few specified situations.

Sea trout however can still be fished with licenced nets and instruments.

Anyone caught illegally fishing, selling or buying wild caught salmon without proof it was legally caught faces prosecution.

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Paul Slater, team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “We are determined to stop the illegal fishing and trade of salmon and sea trout because these activities have a terrible impact on fish populations.

“Legitimate netsmen sell wild salmon and sea trout with an Environment Agency tag attached to the carcass. If this is not present, then you may be handling illegally-caught fish and you may be liable for prosecution.

“Other tell-tale signs are apparent on the fish carcasses themselves: any spear or gaff wounds, or snare or gill net marks on a salmon ID can indicate that a fish has been caught illegally.”