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Catch! Essex Fisherman Netted Without Licence

Essex angler fined £240 after illegally fishing on the River Stour


An angler from Essex who fished illegally has been ordered by a court to pay out. The amount to be paid is 40 times the amount of money than if he’d just bought a fishing licence.


Daniel Churchman, of Dedham, Essex, was caught fishing during the fishing close season on 14 June 2022 at the Mill Pool on the River Stour at Dedham.


Following a case brought by the Environment Agency, Hastings Magistrates Court fined Churchman £146 and ordered him to pay a £34 victim surcharge and £60 in costs. The costs totalled £240 - this is 40 times more than a £6 single-day fishing licence or just over 5 times more than the current price of a £45 fishing licence.*


The close season is in place to allow an uninterrupted spawning period and helps to protect vulnerable species. It also provides an opportunity for the Environment Agency and partners to carry out projects up and down the country. To further enhance habitats vital for improving fish spawning.


Enforcement Team Leader, Lesley Robertson, said:

This case shows we pursue offenders through the courts and won’t hesitate to take enforcement action where anglers break rules.
The money raised through the sales of fishing licences is re-invested and enables us to improve all fisheries, including rivers, for anglers. Anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.
Our fisheries enforcement officers routinely carry out licence checks, and we urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 807060.

Any angler aged 13 or over and fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in England needs a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. A 1-day licence costs just £6, and an annual licence costs just £30. Concessions are available.


Junior licences are free for 13 to 16-year-olds.


Around £25 million is raised annually through fishing licences. This money pays for stocking waters with half a million fish, and improving rivers and fisheries for anglers and the wider environment. It’s quick, easy and cheap to get a licence: online, by phone and at the Post Office - search ‘fishing licence on gov.uk or call the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386.


Licences now run 365 days from the day of purchase offering 12 full months of fishing.


Background - Charges

Daniel Churchman pleaded guilty to breaching National Byelaw 2 of the Environment Agency Byelaws made on 12 July 2010 and contrary to National Byelaw 6 confirmed 23 March 2010 made pursuant to sections 210 and 211 schedule 25 of the Water Resource Act 1991.


He was sentenced at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on 30 September 2022.


The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by police forces and the Angling Trust. Fisheries enforcement work is intelligence-led, targeting known hot spots and where illegal fishing is reported.


Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities should report it to our incident hotline number 0800 807060. You can also report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


*£45 is the cost of a 12-month trout and coarse 3-rod fishing licence.

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