New twist in the illegal fish trade

A new crimewave, which is threatening the health of fisheries, is sweeping the UK, Angling Times can exclusively reveal.

Fishery owners are reportedly being visited by gangs of ‘door-to-door salesmen’ offering illegal, cut-price carp with no questions asked.

Not only is this breaking laws surrounding the movement of fish, but introducing unknown specimens into waters risks spreading diseases that can wipe out stocks.

News of this illegal movement of carp comes after one of the UK’s biggest suppliers revealed that a host of popular stillwater fisheries have either been contacted or visited by gangs willing to sell and instantly stock carp in excess of 30lb.

Steve Barnes, owner of Quiet Sports Fishery Management, revealed that one fishery he knew had been visited by a gang equipped with a 4x4-style vehicle fitted with large tailor-made fish tanks that were willing to take cash for specimens there and then.

In the current market, a legitimate British 30lb carp will cost upwards of £2,500, but a host of well-known specimen waters are being offered fish of the same size for as little as £700.

Many fear that with so many specimen fisheries being devastated by otters and under increasing pressure to produce big-weight fish, this new approach will become tempting for even the most discerning owner.

“I’d never heard of a van turning up unannounced at a fishery offering cheap, illegal fish.” said Steve.

“It’s outrageous and it isn’t just a couple of incidents, either. I’ve had many calls from fisheries which have been offered cheap fish from men who only use their first names and are not part of any firm or dealer.

“These people know what they’re doing. How much of a tempting prospect it is for some fishery owners who maybe can’t go through the proper channels and pay nearly £3,000 for a thirty.” Gareth Burnett is owner of Lovelace Farm Carp Fishery in Kent and, despite being relatively new to the business, has admitted to being shocked by the number of times he has been approached with offers of illegal specimen carp.

“My fishery has only been open for three years, but I can’t believe how many suspect carp I’ve been offered,” said Gareth.

“People have approached me at the lakes and in the pub, called me on the phone and even anglers on my lakes have told me they know where to get hold of carp up to 30lb for as little as £500.

“I’d never risk my stock or ever contemplate purchasing these fish, but I know of fishery owners who do stock illegal fish because all they care about is making money.”