Fishing duo hit with hefty fine for using live bait on River Ouse at Ely

A PAIR of fisherman Essex have each been fined �500 for fishing during the close season and using live bait.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday that Costel Stratult and Dragos Nechita were found fishing on the River Great Ouse at Queen Adelaide, near Ely, by an Environment Agency enforcement officer.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said both men had valid rod licences but were fishing during the annual close season which runs from March 15-June 15 and is in place to protect fisheries and ensure fish have a chance to spawn successfully.

They were each fined �100 for fishing out of season and ordered to pay �125 costs.

Mrs Tordoff said the officer searched their fishing equipment and found a box with five live carp in it and each rod had a live carp on its hook in the river. She said Stratult and Nechita confirmed they had bought the fish in London and were using them as live bait. They were each fined �400 for the offence.

Mrs Tordoff explained that Nechita then tried to tip the fish into the river but was prevented from doing so and the fish were seized with consent.

Stratult and Nechita, both from Ilford, pleaded guilty to fishing for freshwater fish during the annual close season for such fish on April 7 at the River Great Ouse north of Queen Adelaide.

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He also pleaded guilty to using live fish for bait at the River Great Ouse not being the water from which they were taken on the same date.

After the hearing Lesley Robertson, environmental crime team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Illegal fish movements or using live fish from other waters as bait increases the risk of spreading disease.

“The byelaws are in place to protect fish and fisheries and it is important that we take action against those who break the byelaws.”