Nearly seven per cent of anglers in some of Wales’ best known fishing spots did not have a valid rod licence, Environment Agency Wales has revealed.
Figures from a four-day blitz earlier this month [1-4 June 2012] show that 49 of the 718 anglers checked [6.8 per cent] were illegally casting their lines in lakes and rivers across the country.
The highest number of people reported for offences was in north Wales where 26 from 215 people questioned did not have a licence. In the south West, 20 offences were recorded from 332 people fishing. In the south East, only three people were cautioned from 171 anglers - the lowest number of the three areas. They now face the prospect of legal action in the courts.
Anyone aged 12 and over fishing for freshwater fish, eels, smelt, trout or salmon in Wales must hold a valid rod licence.
Around 60,000 licences are bought in Wales each year generating about £1.25 million. All money collected is reinvested in angling. This includes improving the quality of fisheries, providing facilities for anglers and projects that help people take-up fishing for the first time, ensuring a healthy future for the sport.
Bill Purvis, Environment Agency Wales, said: ‘Wales’ lakes and rivers attract many visitors over the summer months. We would remind people to make sure that if they have a rod, they also need a rod licence, before they begin fishing. We will continue to take action against people who fish illegally.
‘Fishing without a valid licence can be very expensive. Having a licence is much cheaper than the fines usually levied in the courts.’
Prices for the 2012/13 rod licences have stayed at the same level as last year and getting a rod licence is easier than ever.