Illegal fishing on River Esk tackled in new multi-agency approach

River Esk, Whitby. w171201d Tuesday 21 March 2017. Picture: Ceri Oakes
River Esk, Whitby. w171201d Tuesday 21 March 2017. Picture: Ceri Oakes

The Yorkshire Esk River Trust (YERT), North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and the Environment Agency (EA) will be working in partnership during the spring and summer of 2018 to raise awareness of the issue of illegal fishing and netting of salmon and sea trout on the River Esk.

During the late summer of 2017 a project was initiated by YERT with the initial intention of gathering intelligence and to liaise with residents and businesses who have property next to the river between the harbour and Sleights weir.

Letters were delivered to residents explaining how to report any suspicious activity on the river by using the Environment agency hotline on 0800 807060

A number of warning signs were also installed at key locations along both banks of the river which also show details of the EA’s contact number.

This initial engagement was welcomed and access to patrol the riverbank was granted by most.

Based on the intelligence gained daily patrols of the areas identified as “high risk” of illegal fishing/netting began, and information passed to the Police and to the EA via its incident reporting line whenever any evidence of illegal fishing/netting was found.

The project was deemed a success and YERT has made the decision to build upon the work done in 2017 with a number of further initiatives and to increase awareness of the “Esk tideway byelaw” relating to illegal fishing/netting.

The 2018 project will commence at the beginning of May and will last throughout the summer, with increased patrols involving YERT, North Yorkshire Police and the Environment Agency at the locations identified as potential hotspots.

The patrols will be intelligence led and will also coincide with tide and river levels especially following a rise in the river level between Ruswarp and the Sleights weir.

YERT is also planning further initiatives as the season progresses and with the support of the Whitby Gazette, further information and updates will follow.