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Illegal Netters Nabbed

Oct 02,2007 SACN


An Environment Agency Wales operation to catch illegal fishermen on the Loughor Estuary again proved successful as two Burry Port men were caught last Friday night (21 September).

Environmental crime officers, assisted by South Wales Police, apprehended the men for illegally drift-netting in an area known as the training wall, near Llanelli.

The night-time operation, using the latest high-tech night vision equipment, spotted and filmed the two placing nets from their boat.

After a few hours wait, the boat was landed in Burry Port and taken away by trailer. The Agency requested that the police stop the vehicle and trailer on the road.

The boat and vehicle were searched by Agency officers who confiscated three nets, as well as that nights’ catch. The catch included several bass, some undersized sea fish and a sea-trout of around 4lb in weight.

A file is now being prepared for prosecution.

Most of the Loughor estuary is restricted to rod and line fishing with stake nets being the only form of netting allowed. This is to protect the valuable stocks of bass, sea-trout and salmon.

Stephen Williams, part of the environmental crime team involved in the operation, said:

"We’re really pleased with the result of this operation. We’ve got a good understanding of where and when people are most likely to fish illegally, and we’ll be waiting for them.

"They’re not only threatening the fish in the Loughor, but the consequences to the legal commercial fishermen and local anglers can be devastating. They’re not only taking fish from the estuary, but they’re also taking money out of the local community.

"Illegal fishermen have to understand that if they carry on, we will catch them. If anyone sees any suspicious activity they should call our emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, calls are free and will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Environmental crime officers, assisted by South Wales Police, apprehended the men for illegally drift-netting in an area known as the training wall, near Llanelli.

The night-time operation, using the latest high-tech night vision equipment, spotted and filmed the two placing nets from their boat.

After a few hours wait, the boat was landed in Burry Port and taken away by trailer. The Agency requested that the police stop the vehicle and trailer on the road.

The boat and vehicle were searched by Agency officers who confiscated three nets, as well as that nights’ catch. The catch included several bass, some undersized sea fish and a sea-trout of around 4lb in weight.

A file is now being prepared for prosecution.

Most of the Loughor estuary is restricted to rod and line fishing with stake nets being the only form of netting allowed. This is to protect the valuable stocks of bass, sea-trout and salmon.

Stephen Williams, part of the environmental crime team involved in the operation, said:

"We’re really pleased with the result of this operation. We’ve got a good understanding of where and when people are most likely to fish illegally, and we’ll be waiting for them.

"They’re not only threatening the fish in the Loughor, but the consequences to the legal commercial fishermen and local anglers can be devastating. They’re not only taking fish from the estuary, but they’re also taking money out of the local community.

"Illegal fishermen have to understand that if they carry on, we will catch them. If anyone sees any suspicious activity they should call our emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, calls are free and will be treated in the strictest confidence."



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