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Cumbrian Youth Fined for Poaching

CUMBRIAN YOUTH FINED AS AGENCY GETS TOUGH ON TEEN POACHERS

The Environment Agency has today warned that it will continue to make every effort to prosecute poachers in Cumbria, after an Egremont teenager was fined 70 for a poaching-related offence yesterday (Thursday) at Whitehaven Magistrates' Court.

In addition to his 70 fine 17-year-old Kai Nolan was also ordered to pay 30 in costs to the Agency.

The court heard how in September 2003, Fisheries Technical Officers Gary Morton and Mike Farrell saw a group of youths in the River Ehen at Egremont.

The water levels were very low and migrating fish, making their way to spawning grounds, were held up in pools along the river.

The officers saw Kai Nolan, wearing a diver's face mask, dive into the water. When he emerged, the two officers approached him and found that he was carrying a freshly killed 4lb salmon. Nolan became abusive and the officers called the police for assistance.

The Agency had warned Nolan in writing only a month beforehand for similar offences. The court heard how the area is regularly targeted by young poachers.

Fisheries Technical Officer Mike Farrell, who organises the Agency's enforcement response to poaching and illegal fishing in the area, said: "We take poaching very seriously. While some people may see this as kids mucking about in the river, the salmon taken by Nolan will have contained around 3,000 eggs, which would have been laid in the river.

"If fish like this are regularly taken from the river, it will soon start to have a significant effect on the numbers of adult fish that return each year."

With the summer holidays approaching, the Agency is keen to stress that juvenile offenders involved in serious poaching incidents or repeated poaching offences will be dealt with firmly.



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