BAILIFFS across Yorkshire netted nearly 700 people who were fishing illegally over the last year.
The team of bailiffs visited hundreds of waters, from Thirsk in the north, to Sheffield and Rotherham in the south, during 2011/2012.
They questioned 6,853 people and reported 697 anglers for fisheries offences.
There were 448 successful prosecutions with fines totalling £49,516 and the costs came to £52,101.
Peter Mischenko, fisheries technical officer for the Environment Agency said: “Our bailiffs routinely patrol still-water fisheries, canals and rivers all over the region, and we will not hesitate to prosecute when an offence has been committed.
“It can cost as little as £27 to buy a rod licence and all of the money goes back into maintaining, improving and protecting our fisheries.
“Those who choose not to buy a licence are not only breaking the law, but are cheating honest anglers.
“We are continually looking at new ways to protect our fisheries and working closer than ever with angling clubs to ensure that all laws relating to fisheries are adhered to.
“If anyone wants any advice regarding this or any other fisheries matters they just need to get in touch.”
All the money the Environment Agency receives from rod licence sales is spent improving fisheries. Essential work such as surveying, disease control, restocking, habitat improvement and commenting on potentially harmful planning applications is carried out by fisheries staff, and some also carry out enforcement work.
Anglers must be in possession of a licence before fishing and must be able to produce it when requested by an Environment Agency bailiff or other authorised person. There are junior and concessionary priced licences.
Licences may be bought from post offices, via the Environment Agency website (www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish) or by dialing 08701 662662. Licences run from 1 April to 31 March and are valid for two rods.
An additional licence is required if an angler is using three or four rods.
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