Controversial fishery boss Tony Booth has this week vowed to maintain his ban on all foreign anglers, even if it means a spell behind bars.
The bullish stance has been taken after the Federation of Poles in Great Britain - a group dedicated to protecting the interests of Polish nationals in this country - declared its intention to take legal action against the outspoken owner of Trentside Fishery, near Scunthorpe, if the contentious rule remains in place.
But Tony, who claims to have introduced the measure as a last resort to stop escalating problems with fish theft, is standing firm, adding that he would rather go to jail than change his stance.
Wiktor Moszczynski, spokesperson for the federation, told Angling Times: “We have great sympathy with Tony Booth for the problems he has experienced.
“We do not condone anyone breaking the rules, regardless of their nationality or whether they speak English or not.
“That said, it is illegal to put up a sign banning all Eastern European anglers and if he doesn’t change his mind, then we will have to refer the case to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“If he is found guilty by the commission, he could then face prosecution.”
Despite the clear threats, the Grimsby-based businessman is adamant he will not change the policy at Trentside under any circumstances. Furthermore, he believes his stance is crucial to help beat the poaching epidemic which he feels is sweeping the country.
“I am definitely standing by my decision, no matter what, and as yet nobody has directly contacted me regarding the issue. They know where I am, but I don’t think they’ve got the bottle. I’m making a stand because if the current situation continues, then most of the nation’s waters will have no fish left in them within a few years time. I’ll be keeping the rule regardless of what they throw at me, and they can lock me up if they like,” said Tony.
Although proceedings are still at an early stage, the federation has already made initial contact with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. When Angling Times contacted the EHRC, a spokesperson for the organisation said it was unable to comment on individual cases.