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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Cumbrian angler's £1,000 bill for killing young salmon and trout

An angler has to pay more than £1,000 after he killed young, “unclean” fish to use as bait at Bassenthwaite.

Matthew Holmes, of South Street, Cockermouth, admitted killing immature – or unclean – salmon and undersized trout to use as bait, contrary to fishing laws to protect clean fish stocks at the lake near Keswick.

Magistrates in Workington heard how Environment Agency workers, plus officers from the Lake District National Park Authority, staged a boat patrol on the lake last August, and enforcement officers checked Holmes’ fishing methods.

A spokeswoman for the agency said he was flouting fishing byelaws which were in place to stop the spread of fish species and disease in “this internationally important lake”, one of Cumbria’s designated Special Areas of Conservation.

Speaking after the case, Steve Powell, fisheries specialist for the agency in the north west, said: “Our fisheries regulations exist to protect and help the biodiversity and wildlife found in our Cumbrian rivers and lakes to flourish.

“Lakes across Cumbria are afforded special protection by a range of fisheries byelaws so it’s important that visiting anglers check that they fully understand these byelaws. The use of freshwater fish as bait is not permitted in most of these lakes because of the disease risks they carry.”

Holmes was fined £375 plus £680 costs and a £20 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to taking, killing and possessing immature salmon and undersized trout to be used as bait at Bassenthwaite Lake in contravention of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act (1975) and Environment Agency North West fisheries byelaws.

The charges said he took ‘unclean or immature’ salmon, trout or freshwater fish and brown trout less than 200mm from the River Derwent.

Mr Powell said illegal fishing threatened the work they had been doing to improve rivers and lakes.

“We urge the public to contact us on our 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807060 if they suspect it to be occurring,” he added.

Holmes was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

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