A GROUP of anglers are tackling problems with poaching head-on after forming their own ‘Fisheries Watch’ scheme.
Run in association with the Warwickshire Police and backed by the district council, plans have been put in place by members of four different angling clubs to watch over a number of venues in the Warwick area, including vast stretches of the River Avon.
Organisers of the scheme, which is the first of its kind in the county, are planning to recruit around 40 volunteers, including some non-angling members of the public, all of whom will patrol venues and are empowered to stop anyone either fishing illegally, poaching fish or being involved in anti-social behaviour, with the police on hand to assist at all times.
Tony Wingrove, who helps with the running of Kingfisher Pool, a coaching venue for kids in Warwick, came up with the idea after his venue suffered from horrendous poaching problems, with thousands of pounds worth of stock being taken.
In response, members of Warwick and District AA, Whitnash Royals AC, Portobello AC and Eagle AC held a series of meetings with the police geared towards getting the scheme up and running to coincide with the beginning of the close season.
Tony Wingrove said: “It’s taken a long time but finally we feel that we can protect our waters much more efficiently. There is little point in anglers just moaning about poaching and illegal fishing and doing nothing else. As a group we need to work together and fight it ourselves as no one else will help us.”
“The idea of the scheme is that all the clubs, bailiffs and fisheries involved will be in contact with one another, so if they see anything suspicious going on at one venue, the other areas will be put on full alert. It would be great to see this extended across the country, because it is all about the community coming together to combat major problems” he added.
Fisheries Watch will not only include bailiffs walking the bank but also a series of signs which will be put in place at venues included in the scheme, similar to those used in the well-known Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
*Anyone interested in volunteering as a bailiff for the scheme can do so by contacting local tackle dealer Bailey’s of Warwick. Either visit the shop, call 01926 491984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org