Environment Agency fisheries work halted in coronavirus crisis

THE Environment Agency have confirmed fisheries staff are not working as normal – but will come out to real emergencies.

Funded by rod licence money, anglers are keen to see as much EA fisheries support and enforcement work carrying on, safely.

But the Covid-19 outbreak has caused real challenges for EA fisheries staff.

The Great Ouse and Fenlands Fisheries Team revealed: “As it stands the EA, like all incident response authorities, are working to strict Government advice.

“This limits us to social distancing and essential travel – as it does everyone.

“This does not mean we are not working though. We are prioritising and attending all incidents that provide the greatest risk to the environment.

“Over the last few days we have had several calls from fisheries who are experiencing problems, two of which we have attended, one club lake at Brackley, Northamptonshire and another club lake in Norfolk.”

And Chris Bainger, EA fisheries technical specialist for the West Midlands, added: “Most of my colleagues are working from home and can’t undertake site visits which are restricted to serious incidents.

“When calls come into the hotline about incidents, directors try to decide what category of severity they fall into which then informs the level of our response.”

Illegal fishing, pollution and incidents harming the environment can be reported to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

Significant issues or serious breaches of the coronavirus restrictions should be reported to the Police on 101 or the local Police website.

As we have reported, many cases of illegal fishing have been reported during lockdown, with claims that rogues have taken advantage.

And a new fishery, Dyehouse suffered devastating fish kill before it could open, and the EA were unable to attend.

Meanwhile angling is back on at stillwaters and canals all over England, plus the coasts. Many venues have also held back from reopening for now.

Doubts about night fishing were also cleared up. Many venues are allowing night sessions – although, again, it is wise to check first before you travel.

And in Wales, it has now been established that fishing at local venues, and only local venues, is now allowed – even by car.

Find out more about the phased return to fishing here. And also be sure to read Angler’s Mail magazine for the best reopening coverage plus exclusive columnists to fire up your angling.

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