Anglers hoping to hit back as fish-poaching problem escalates

FISH poaching is becoming a “huge” problem in East Cambridgeshire according to angling clubs and one trader is launching a new initiative in a bid to check its advance.

Steve Calder, who runs the Carping On angling stall on Ely market, says that thousands of pounds worth of carp, zander and pike are being lifted from fisheries and lakes across the district and the wider region and eaten.

Mr Calder says it is often Eastern European anglers who are unaware of the ‘catch and release’ policy that operates in the UK, with many countries in the EU allowing anglers to eat what they catch.

Steve, who also owns a tackle shop in Mildenhall, said: “The problem is huge, some of the horror stories that I hear from bailiffs are unbelievable.

“People walking their dogs have seen groups of guys literally pulling fish out of the water, cutting their throats and throwing them in buckets. Others have reported seeing baited hooks left in the water for days at a time.

“The impact of poaching on fish populations in our rivers and lakes has been profound.”

The problem, Steve believes, is largely one of communication and he hopes a new poster, written in several languages, will help make potential fish poachers aware of the UK policy.

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“The UK is unusual within Europe in that we pursue a catch and release policy. In other countries it’s perfectly normal for anglers to take home any fish they catch.

“In Poland for example, carp are regarded as a delicacy, having top billing on many restaurant menus. In the UK, however, they are our most popular sport fish and larger specimens may be worth hundreds, even thousands.

“Hopefully by posting these notices in multiple languages, the message will quickly spread that poaching will not be tolerated on our waterways.”

The posters can be ordered from or from Steve himself at his stall on Ely market.